The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges Taiwan’s
National Police Agency (NPA) to stop asking media personnel for information
about protesters at a recent public demonstration.
According to the Association of
Taiwan Journalists (ATJ), an IFJ affiliate, members of the Taiwan police have reportedly asked media
workers to provide photographs of demonstrators who participated in the “Yellow
Ribbon Siege” protest against a meeting between Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou and chairman
of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chen Yunlin
on November 16. The protest was reportedly organised by the Democratic
Progressive Political Party.
The ATJ said there were concerns that police would seek to pressure
photojournalists who refused the request for information by approaching their
“The police have put the reporters in grave danger by
demanding that they rat on their interviewees,”
ATJ president Leon Chuang said.
On November 18, Leon Chuang and several
reporters requested a meeting with NPA Director-General Wang Cho-chun to
resolve the issue, but the request was declined.
“The duty of a journalist is to report the truth and to protect
his or her sources. Journalists must not be compelled to act as agents to
collect information on behalf of government authorities. Police interference of
this kind places freedom of the independent press in jeopardy,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
“The IFJ urges Taiwan’s
authorities to respect press freedom and ensure that they do not compromise journalists’
integrity. All media outlets are also urged to defend press freedom and refrain
from handing over photographs.”
Increasing police pressure on Taiwan’s media has been reported
since early November. An independent documentary film-maker was detained by
police while she was filming Chen in a hotel on November 4.. In a separate
incident, a television reporter was assaulted
by police who reportedly mistook him for a protester during the November 16 rally.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
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