media freedom

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Philip Seib looks at the history of Al Jazeera and why it is a point of contention for some Middle Eastern countries.

Taiwan should be the regional leader in soft diplomacy as well. It has plenty to offer the world. Taiwan is the only Chinese-speaking democratic nation in the world, its press is unrestricted, and its citizens enjoy total online freedom. Add into this the fact that it has consistently punched above its weight economically and Taiwan has plenty to take to the wider world to counter-weight the obvious diplomatic difficulties that they face.

These values do not just cover human rights, media freedom, the rule of law, and accountability. They also relate to other specific EU values, especially the free movement of people and access by all member states to the EU single market. These sets of values have made the EU attractive to its members as well as to those countries aspiring to join the bloc.

It is China’s heightened interest in South African media, however, which has raised questions about the country’s intentions and objectives which could be viewed as the seeking of “soft power”, or how it can leverage its perception and influence on the continent.

On World Press Freedom Day, the United States pays special honor to the importance of media freedom - a crucial element of freedom of expression - at home and abroad. A diverse and independent press is crucial to holding governments accountable and sustaining democracy around the world. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) at the U.S. Department of State details the state of media freedom around the world in the Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.