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No Free right to an Opinion in Taiwan it seems...

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No Free right to an Opinion in Taiwan it seems...

Postby Mr S » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:58 pm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... odles.html

Restaurant blogger jailed for criticising salty noodles

A court in Taiwan has jailed a woman for 30 days after she complained her noodles were "too salty".

Mrs Liu was sentenced to 30 days in jail, a further two years of probation, and ordered to pay £4,300 in compensation to the restaurant for the damage she had caused

By Malcolm Moore, Shanghai12:17PM BST 24 Jun 2011

The Taiwanese woman, who has only been named as Mrs Liu, enraged the owner of the Sichuan Flavour Beef Noodle Restaurant in the central city of Taichung after posting a negative review on the internet.
Mrs Liu, who has a wide-ranging but relatively little-read blog covering food and interior design, visited the restaurant in 2008.
She complained that the food was "too salty", that there were cockroaches, and that the owner was a "bully", according to the Taipei Times.
Beef noodle soup is one of Taiwan's most popular national dishes, and restaurants are judged mercilessly on the fragrance and quality of their offering.
After learning about the negative review from a customer, the restaurant sued Mrs Liu for defamation.

Neolithic noodles made in China 13 Oct 2005
Chinese entrepreneurs launch Barack Obama noodles 07 Nov 2008
The high court in Taichung decided that Mrs Liu had been within her rights to comment on the cockroaches, since this was a "narration of the facts".
However, the judge ruled that since she had only eaten one dish of fried noodles, she was unqualified to pass judgement on the seasoning of the rest of the restaurant's menu.
Mrs Liu was sentenced to 30 days in jail, a further two years of probation, and ordered to pay £4,300 in compensation to the restaurant for the damage she had caused. She was also told to apologise and refused the right to appeal.
The owner of the restaurant, named as Mr Yang, said he hoped the case would teach her a lesson. Huang Cheng-lee, a lawyer in Taichung, said restaurant reviewers should remember to be "truthful, objective and fair".
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and stoic philosopher, 121-180 A.D.
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Postby Winston » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:11 pm

Rock? Momopi? Does this mean that there is no free speech in Taiwan? What does the law officially say about freedom of speech?
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Postby Rock » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:30 pm

Winston wrote:Rock? Momopi? Does this mean that there is no free speech in Taiwan? What does the law officially say about freedom of speech?


My gf has been telling me that Taiwan has become similar (perhaps even more severe) to the States for defamation laws in the last few years. At first, I doubted it. But court decisions like these show that I underestimated the trend. Apparantly, you can sue people for all kinds of little things these days such as name calling, innocent acts which can be interpreted as sexual harrassment, etc. And the courts may rule in plaintiff's favor and involve both civil and criminal prosecution. However, fines involved are normally modest, nothing like the insane amounts involved in some of the higher profile US lawsuits. IMO, too many things in Taiwan are copied from the States without any regard to their merit.
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Postby Winston » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:37 pm

Maybe the NWO or the Anglo powers have infiltrated Taiwan? lol

But the thing is, you can't sue for defamation or libel in the states, unless the statements are demonstratably false. In this case, it was a restaurant review. Aren't there tons of negative restaurant reviews on the internet? They do not constitute defamation. So why was this case an exception?

So doesn't Taiwan have the same policy?
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Postby Rock » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:50 pm

Winston wrote:Maybe the NWO or the Anglo powers have infiltrated Taiwan? lol

But the thing is, you can't sue for defamation or libel in the states, unless the statements are demonstratably false. In this case, it was a restaurant review. Aren't there tons of negative restaurant reviews on the internet? They do not constitute defamation. So why was this case an exception?

So doesn't Taiwan have the same policy?


I'm no lawyer or expert on laws so the best answer is that I don't know. But keep in mind that the definition of 'demonstratably false' is subject to judges determination in grey area cases. I believe the rational here was that she had no right to claim all food in restaurant is too salty since she only had the noodles. In other words, I have no right to publicly express an opinion in writing on something I am not qualified to judge since I haven't tried it. If this is the case, that's a pretty strict application of the libel concept. Fortunately, I generally don't argue, complain, or insult people here. If I'm not happy with something, I just vote with my feet.
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Postby OutWest » Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:57 pm

Rock wrote:
Winston wrote:Rock? Momopi? Does this mean that there is no free speech in Taiwan? What does the law officially say about freedom of speech?


My gf has been telling me that Taiwan has become similar (perhaps even more severe) to the States for defamation laws in the last few years. At first, I doubted it. But court decisions like these show that I underestimated the trend. Apparantly, you can sue people for all kinds of little things these days such as name calling, innocent acts which can be interpreted as sexual harrassment, etc. And the courts may rule in plaintiff's favor and involve both civil and criminal prosecution. However, fines involved are normally modest, nothing like the insane amounts involved in some of the higher profile US lawsuits. IMO, too many things in Taiwan are copied from the States without any regard to their merit.


Criminal penalties in civil cases like this were NOT copied from US laws. if you are found guilty of defamation in the USA, there are not criminal penalties, you have simply lost a civil case...and they try to collect if there are financial penalties.
And no, in much of Asia and Europe, there is NOT freedom of speech anything like in the USA generally. What you say can land you in jail...


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Postby Rock » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:34 pm

OutWest wrote:
Rock wrote:
Winston wrote:Rock? Momopi? Does this mean that there is no free speech in Taiwan? What does the law officially say about freedom of speech?


My gf has been telling me that Taiwan has become similar (perhaps even more severe) to the States for defamation laws in the last few years. At first, I doubted it. But court decisions like these show that I underestimated the trend. Apparantly, you can sue people for all kinds of little things these days such as name calling, innocent acts which can be interpreted as sexual harrassment, etc. And the courts may rule in plaintiff's favor and involve both civil and criminal prosecution. However, fines involved are normally modest, nothing like the insane amounts involved in some of the higher profile US lawsuits. IMO, too many things in Taiwan are copied from the States without any regard to their merit.


Criminal penalties in civil cases like this were NOT copied from US laws. if you are found guilty of defamation in the USA, there are not criminal penalties, you have simply lost a civil case...and they try to collect if there are financial penalties.
And no, in much of Asia and Europe, there is NOT freedom of speech anything like in the USA generally. What you say can land you in jail...


outwest


I would say Taiwan generally has been freer than the US for speech. In the days before democracy, you could get in big trouble for criticizing the ruling party, its leaders, related institutions, or ideology. And if you behaved in the wrong way or went to the wrong place, you could easily come-under suspicion for being an underground commi or spy for the Chinese red party. It was a very dangerous environment because if someone decided to report you, guilty or not, you would probably soon disappear. But by 1996 when Taiwan had its first presidential election, I believe you could talk freely about government and politics even though it was a charged issue and could lead to heated debates or even fights (kinda like talking soccer with UK lager louts). However, there was none of this PC BS with institutional and sometimes legal backing effectively restricting what you could say about countries, races, women, sex, wars, gays, the government, etc. Also, its easy to talk back and argue aggressively with civil police officers here. Not so in the States.

Now when I talk about copying the US, I don't mean to the letter or comprehensively. Rather, I mean borrowing concepts, ideas, policies, laws, etc., and applying them to some degree here in Taiwan. IMO, PI and Taiwan have probably been more directly influenced by the US in the last few decades than any of the other Asian nations.
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Postby odbo » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:45 pm

Mr S wrote:Restaurant blogger jailed for criticising salty noodles

Too bad this doesn't happen to all the retarded asians on yelp.com here in America. :x How I hate those yuppies..

I've seen people there give 1 star ratings to restaurants based on the FREE bread served while the meal is being prepared.

Online reviewers in general are out of their f***ing minds, people these days have ridiculous demands that can't possibly be met. You know when commercials portray a certain product as the thing that will spice up your existance and basically re-invent you? I think a portion of the population actually expects that to happen! Everyone has gotten way too carried away with their ego life and have become too entitled and picky. What most members of this society need is a solid ass-whopping or a taste of their own medicine to set them straight or at least keep them in check.
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Postby momopi » Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:22 am

Winston wrote:Rock? Momopi? Does this mean that there is no free speech in Taiwan? What does the law officially say about freedom of speech?


Article 11 of the Constitution of the Republic of China (ratified 1947) states: "The people shall have freedom of speech, teaching, writing and publication."

In this case the judge ruled that the blogger had slandered the restaurant by claiming that all their food is "too salty" (see article below) when she only tried 1 noodle and 2 side dishes. IMO the judge had clearly sided with restaurant owners in his ruling.


http://taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/arch ... 2003506487

Blogger given suspended prison sentence over critical restaurant review

OBJECTIVITY: The judge said the blogger should not have criticized the restaurant’s food as ‘too salty’ in general, because she had eaten dried noodles and two side dishes
By Lin Liang-che / Staff Reporter

The Taichung branch of Taiwan High Court on Tuesday sentenced a blogger who wrote that a restaurant’s beef noodles were too salty to 30 days in detention, suspended for two years, and ordered her to pay NT$200,000 in compensation to the restaurant.

The blogger, surnamed Liu (劉), writes about a variety of topics — including food, health, interior design and lifestyle topics — and has received more than 60,000 hits on her Web site.

After visiting a Taichung beef noodle restaurant in July 2008, where she had dried noodles and side dishes, Liu wrote that the restaurant served food that was too salty, the place was unsanitary because there were cockroaches and that the owner was a “bullyâ€￾ because he let customers park their cars haphazardly, leading to traffic jams.

The restaurant’s owner, surnamed Yang (楊), learned about Liu’s blog post from a regular customer, and filed charges against her, accusing her of defamation.

The Taichung District Court ruled that Liu’s criticism of the restaurant exceeded reasonable bounds and sentenced her to 30 days in detention, a ruling that Liu appealed.

The High Court found that Liu’s criticism about cockroaches in the restaurant to be a narration of facts, not intentional slander.

However, the judge also ruled that Liu should not have criticized all the restaurant’s food as too salty because she only had one dish on her single visit.

Health officials who inspected the restaurant did not find conditions to be as unsanitary as Liu had described, so the High Court also ruled that Liu must pay NT$200,000 to the owner for revenues lost as a result of her blog post.


The ruling is final.

Liu has apologized to the restaurant for the incident.

Yang said he filed the charges because Liu’s negative comments about his restaurant led many customers to call him to ask if her review was true.

He said he hoped the case would teach her a lesson.

Huang Cheng-lee (黃呈利), a lawyer in Taichung, said that bloggers who post food reviews should remember to be truthful in their commentary and supplement their comments with photographs to protect themselves.

He also said bloggers should be objective and fair in their writing.

[This report has been updated and corrected since publication.]
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