Reporters Without Borders 2009 report on world press freedom ranked Taiwan 59th in the world. This was a significant drop from Taiwan’s ranking of 36th in 2008.
Japan was the leading country in Asia ranked 17th. Reporters Without Borders noted that both South Korea, at 69th, and Taiwan had fallen in the rankings this year. Regarding Taiwan it wrote, “The new ruling party in Taiwan tried to interfere in state and privately-owned media while violence by certain activists further undermined press freedom.”
Reporters Without Borders’ website contains two reports expressing concern about problems with Taiwan’s media in the past twelve months. In November 2008 at least ten journalists were injured in protests over the visit of Chinese official Chen Yunlin. It is important to note that several journalists were injured or interfered with by police or security guards, it was not just the result of the actions of protesters. In December concerns were raised over government interference in public media, including Radio Taiwan International, the Central News Agency and Public Television Service.
Earlier this year Taiwan’s ranking also fell in Freedom House’s 2009 Freedom of the Press report. Although Freedom House still classified Taiwan’s media as free.
Update: The Taipei Times has an article with quotes from GIO Minister Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓).