President Tsai said she regarded the opening of an RSF bureau in Taipei as “very positive” while Deloire urged her administration to develop and promote its media freedom model.
Deloire also hailed the fact that Tsai, alone among international leaders, had offered her condolences when jailed Chinese Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo died last week and that she had encouraged the Chinese people to pursue their dream of democracy.
“Taiwan, which is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the lifting of martial law, is ranked No. 1 in Asia in the World Press Freedom Index,” Deloire said. “We hope this ‘freedom laboratory’ will be an example for the rest of the continent, amid a global decline in media freedom. To this end, Taiwan must resist violations of the independence of its journalists, especially those carried out under Beijing’s influence, and must improve its legislation.”
As well as Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights defender who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, and Wu’er Kaixi, one of the leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen protests, the RSF delegation includes Cédric Alviani, the head of RSF’s new Taipei bureau.
The delegation was also received by Taiwanese foreign minister Tawei Lee, deputy culture minister Hsiao-Ching Ting, parliamentarians and representatives of local civil rights and human rights groups.
RSF’s Taipei bureau, its first in Asia, covers China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, North Korea, South Korea and Mongolia. RSF opened it in April in order to respond to the challenges for media freedom in a region with growing international influence. The decision to locate it in Taipei took account of Taiwan’s 45th ranking in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index, the highest of any Asia nation.
RSF is an independent international NGO that has consultative status with the UN and UNESCO. Created more than 30 years ago, it has its headquarters in Paris, it has 12 bureaux and sections (Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Helsinki, London, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Stockholm, Tunis, Taipei, Vienna and Washington), and it has a network of correspondents in 130 countries.