Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hsu Szu-chien addresses attendees at the opening of this year’s East Asia Democracy Forum June 26 in Taipei City. (Courtesy of TFD)
The sixth annual East Asia Democracy Forum was held June 26 in Taipei City, deepening regional exchanges on countering authoritarian challenges to freedom and rules-based global order.
Organized by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, the one-day event was attended by more than 150 foreign and domestic academics, democracy advocates and officials. Topics discussed at the seminar spanned disinformation campaigns and collection of personal data, as well as attempts by authoritarian regimes to reshape the region by exporting illiberal models of governance.
Speaking at the forum opening, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hsu Szu-chien said Taiwan is a front-line state in combating cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns aimed at sowing discord in society and undermining freedom and democracy.
According to Hsu, the government is sparing no effort in fighting such cynical tactics, with related measures including imposing stiffer penalties for spreading fake news about disasters and diseases, as well as issuing easy-to-read infographics via social media to clarify falsehoods.
Tackling disinformation is essential in protecting national security and upholding shared values, Hsu said, adding that freedom-loving nations must stand together in countering the rise of authoritarian regimes and reinforcing democratic principles.
Other speakers featured at this year’s event included Chang Yu-hsuan, editor at the Taipei-headquartered nongovernmental Open Culture Foundation; Lin Thung-hong, researcher at Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s foremost research organization; and TFD President Ford Fu-te Liao.
Founded in 2003, the TFD is the first national-level foundation in Asia aimed at promoting democracy. It presents the annual Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award to honor individuals or groups for their efforts in promoting fair and just societies.