• Directory of Taiwan

Taiwan defense ministry proposes revisions to national mobilization law

New draft calls for tighter controls over media and communications, stricter punishments for hoarding, fake news

Soldiers patrolling during a military drill, August 2022. (Facebook, Taiwan Army HQ photo)

Soldiers patrolling during a military drill, August 2022. (Facebook, Taiwan Army HQ photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced earlier this week that it submitted a revised draft of the “All-out Defense Mobilization Readiness Act,” which is now publicly available.

The MND’s proposed revisions call for county and city governments, as well as all news and media organizations, to cooperate with government controls that may be implemented over all information networks, including online media platforms, publishers, and television broadcasters.

The revised draft of the mobilization readiness act calls for the National Communications Commission (NCC) and the Ministry of Culture (MOC) to prepare relevant protocols for implementing any necessary oversight of the country’s mass communication networks, reported UDN. This may include potential audits or investigations of telecommunication equipment manufacturers and related businesses, prior to any national mobilization.

In addition to tighter control over media and communications, the new draft also calls for stricter penalties for actions detrimental to national security. These include failure to comply with government demands prior to, or during mobilization, disseminating false information, and hoarding critical supplies.

Anyone who fails to comply with government directives, or who actively tries to contravene or impede such directives may be jailed for up to seven years, and potentially fined up to NT$7 million (US$230,000). A company may also be fined up to NT$7 million if one of its employees commits an act to hamper the investigation of any government agency or the implementation of any national mobilization measures.

In cases of disseminating false information, the prison sentence is not to exceed three years. However, jail terms can be increased by up to 50% if an individual knowingly disseminates false information online.

The new draft also calls for increased fines and fixed-term punishments for hoarding supplies that may be vital to the country’s mobilization efforts, whether for war or any emergency crisis situation, reports CNA. Those found guilty of hoarding such supplies without justification are to be sentenced to not less than one year, and no more than seven years in prison.

The new draft of the law was published on Feb. 21. Before the legislature can vote on any revisions, the MND must submit the new draft for public review for a period of 14 days. The new draft can be viewed here (Mandarin).