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Taiwan: Blogger subjected to US7,000 compensation for writing food critics

A Taiwanese blogger was sentenced to 30 days detention with a 2 year probation and subjected to a TWD200,000 (approximately USD7,000) compensation for writing food critics in her blog. The court in Taichung city stated that her comment was not based upon objective fact and hence defamatory. Defamation is a criminal offense in Taiwan.

According to local report in June 2011, the blogger Miss Lau is a restaurant, public service critic. She also writes comment on internal design and lifestyle. The “defamatory” food critics was written back in July 2008 in which she commented upon the environment and food quality of a beef noodle shop in Taichung city. The post says “the food is too salty, there is cockroaches in the shop, not very hygienic. Moreover, the owner allows its customers to have parallel parking outside the shop, acting like local thug.

In the first trial (in early 2010), the district court stated that Lau's comment is not fair and sentenced her to 30 days imprisonment. In her appeal, she defended that her comment on the taste of the food was based upon her experience while her comment on the restaurant's environment was based upon facts. However, as the local government's hygiene control authority had not found any cockroach in the noodle shop, the court decided that Lau's defense is ungrounded. The higher district court suggested a settlement deal between the two parties and eventually Miss Lau had to apologize to the noodle shop and pay a TWD200,000 compensation. In return, she got a 2 year probation for the 30 day detention.

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