[Media Lines] Taiwan: Government Must Protect Its Democracy, Hold Free and Fair Elections, and Counter Disinformation
12 January 2024 11:14 am

Ahead of Taiwan’s general election on 13 January 2024, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) calls on the government to preserve its democracy and allow for the will of the people to transpire through free and fair elections. 

Taiwan is set to elect its President and Vice President alongside the members of the Legislative Yuan. 

As the only Asian country that has been characterised with an ‘open’ civic space by the CIVICUS Monitor, Taiwan has served as a positive example for other countries struggling for the fulfilment of human rights and democracy in the region. Nevertheless, the election is expected to be highly contentious due to the candidates’ stance on pressing economic issues, the environment, and the cross-strait tensions between Taiwan and China. Leading up to the election, there has also been an increase in disinformation targeting voters.  

During the election process, it is essential to protect people’s fundamental rights to vote, express their opinions, have access to information, and associate with political parties and organisations. FORUM-ASIA urges all parties to stop disseminating propaganda, smear campaigns, and hate speech aimed at manipulating the election. The government must counter and investigate all disinformation tactics that could undermine Taiwan’s democracy.

‘The election process is the bedrock of democracy, for it gives the people the ability to assert their voice by choosing the representatives they want. As the only Asian nation with an established and thriving civic space, members of the Taiwanese Government and other political actors must not waste decades of democratic strides. Fundamental freedoms in Taiwan must be preserved, and its democratic processes must never be compromised,’ said Mary Aileen Diez-Bacalso, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA.