Censorship in Taiwan


Censorship in Taiwan

Censorship in the Republic of China (Taiwan) was eliminated in 1987. The media is generally allowed to broadcast what they choose as long as it does not contravene slander and libel statutes.

History

In many of the martial law period of the Republic of China in Taiwan (1948-1987), the Kuomintang, as a one-party authoritarian state, exercised strict control of the media. Parties other than the Kuomintang were banned and media advocating either democracy or Taiwan independence was banned. Li Ao, a famous political activist in Taiwan, nationalist, and intellectual, had over 96 books banned from sale. Writer Bo Yang was jailed for eight years for his translation of the cartoon Popeye because the translation was interpreted as a criticism of leader Chiang Kai-shek. Taiwanese-language media was also banned, and children who spoke Taiwanese in school were physically punished.

Modern era

Today, the democratic Republic of China does not practice censorship, though in the local elections of 2005, CDs with videos ridiculing candidates were confiscated in accordance to the Election and Recall Act. Some influence over the media was exercised by the defunct Government Information Office (GIO) as well as by media properties controlled by the Kuomintang.

There are no longer restrictions on the use of non-Mandarin languages in schools or in the media, though the official language of instruction is still Mandarin. As a result of the past language policy, numerous young people in Taiwan do not have fluency in their mother tongue (e.g. Taiwanese, Hakka, or one of the Formosan languages) of their parents.

However, there is some controversy as of 2006. The then governing party in the Republic of China (ROC), the Democratic Progressive Party, has refused to renew the broadcasting licenses of certain television channels (reminiscent of the FCC in the United States), suggesting that the broadcasters were not in compliance with broadcasting standards. Curiously enough, some of the channels who failed their broadcast license renewal are perceived by some to favor the opposition party, Kuomintang, in their news and current events programming.

Also, "On March 20, 2006, security police went to the Taipei offices of "Next Magazine" and to its printers and seized copies of the next day’s issue, saying it 'threatened national security.' Some 160,000 copies were seized, but the magazine was still on sale at news-stands because the staff had secretly managed to print more copies elsewhere."

The authority for censorship in Taiwan since 2006 is the National Communications Commission (NCC), the Taiwanese equivalent of the American FCC. On June 26, 2006, news reports said the Council of Honorable Justices of ROC had their constitutional review result that part of the National Communications Commission Organization Act [http://www.ncc.tw/ncc-orgact.htm] (e.g. Article 4) is unconstitutional, and there will be two years after which this law is invalid.

ee also

*Propaganda in the Republic of China
*Kaohsiung Incident
**James Soong (Director-General, GIO, 1979 to 1984)
*Cinema of Taiwan

References

* [http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=6487 Reporters Without Borders - Taiwan 2003 Annual Report]
* [http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=10224 Reporters Without Borders - Taiwan 2004 Annual Report]
* [http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/162/ International Freedom of Expression Exchange]


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