TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders, also known under its French name Reporters sans frontières (RSF) announced Thursday it will open its first Asia bureau in Taipei.
The opening of the new East Asia office corresponds with RSF's ongoing international expansion of its association and its focus to better address new challenges in media freedoms in the region that has become increasingly influential globally, said RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire.
The new bureau in Taipei will focus on East Asian territories including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, North Korea, South Korea and Mongolia.
“The choice of Taiwan was made not only with regards to its central geographic location and ease of operating logistics, but also considering its status of being the freest place in Asia in our annual Press Freedom Index ranking," said Deloire.
Taiwan ranked 51 in the RSF's 2016 World Press Freedom Index, and scored 24.83, up 0.46 points compared to the year before.
The Taipei bureau will serve as a strategic platform for exercising the defense of press freedom's influence and action on various fronts where RSF is engaged, such as advocating press rights; awareness building in support of specific campaigns, mission and actions; assistance, grants and legal aid to journalists; and capacity building for journalists and local partner organizations such as education and training on cyber-security.
The international non-profit organization established in Paris in France since 1985, holds a consultative position at the United Nations (UN), UNESCO, and the Council of Europe.
RSF has appointed Cedric Alviani to serve as the Taipei bureau director, under the supervision of the Paris headquarters.
Alviani is a French national and graduate from the CUEJ journalism school in Strasbourg, and has resided in Asia for more than 18 years.
Initially, he was recruited by the French Embassy in Thailand to serve as an audio-visual specialist, and relocated to Taiwan in 2000 to serve as Cooperation Officer for the French Ministry.
In 2005, Alviani founded the Taiwan European Film Festival (TEFF) and served as the General Manager of the France Taiwan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFT) from 2010 to 2012.
“Cedric brings to the organization a diverse and well-rounded management skill set that will serve the organization in its Asian development ambitions,” says Ronny Rubin, responsible for RSF's International Development.
RSF efforts in the region will also be further propelled and supported by Wu'er Kaixi (吾爾開希), the student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protest who became a Taiwanese citizen in 1996.
The Taiwan-based Wu’er Kaixi has continued to be a prominent Chinese advocate of human rights and defender of media freedom, and will assist RSF work in the country.
Wu’er Kaixi is a member of the RSF Emeritus Board, along with other renowned figures including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Prize laureate in literature Wole Soyinka and prominent journalists, writers and freedom fighters such as Adam Michnik, Taslima Nasreen and Roberto Saviano.
Headquartered in Paris it has 11 global offices such as in Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Helsinki, London, Washington D.C., London, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Stockholm, Tunis, Vienna and has correspondents in 130 countries.