NEW DELHI: India and Taiwan may lack formal diplomatic relations, but the two governments maintain certain ties, including commerce and technology, agreed journalists who are from different countries but represent a new English language TV news channel in, what is officially known as, the Republic of China (Taiwan).
“Though we work for a state media, there is no editorial censorship in Taiwan. Sometimes we even go to the extent of criticising Government policies and decisions,” said Suvam Pal, Senior Producer at TaiwanPlus.
Indian media ‘vibrant’
Suvam is, perhaps, the only Indian journalist in entire Taiwan. Interestingly, he has also been associated with mainland China’s TV channel CCTN between 2016 and 2020.
“My experience as a journalist has been the same in India. Both countries exercise freedom of expression. But in China, there are several layers of scrutiny and any news considered against their interests is censored,” he observed. He considers Indian media as “vibrant” and feels that some may have “certain views” but overall, it is independent.
The quadragenarian journalist, a student of Chemistry from the internationally acclaimed VisvaBharati, has worked with reputed media houses in India before he set sail for China.
“The three countries I’ve worked in are intertwined somehow. Both India and Taiwan are facing threats from China to various degrees,” he observed.
Added Stas Butler, a British reporter, resident of Taipei, and Suvam’s colleague at TaiwanPlus: “Taiwan is not recognised as an independent state. But the country looks at India not only for political reasons but for business and economic cooperation too.”
Business, economic ties
TaiwanPlus is a publicly funded organisation comprising Taiwanese and international journalists reporting on stories from China and around the world.
The new English language TV news channel sent a three-member crew to cover the G20 Summit in New Delhi. The third member in the team was Leon Lien, a senior videographer with TaiwanPlus news channel.
“Despite the sabre-rattling by China, common people in Taiwan lead a very peaceful life, without any stress as such,” asserted Suvam.
“I’ve travelled across the globe, and I consider Taiwan among the safest countries. There is no security clampdown on the streets or public transport like Metro, even the bullet trains,” said Suvam.