The National Communications Commission yesterday urged the media to exercise self-discipline when covering an alleged altercation involving singer and actress Makiyo, adding that it will closely monitor if any media outlet violates regulations.
Makiyo’s Japanese friend Takateru Tomoyori is alleged to have attacked a taxi driver after refusing to buckle up his seatbelt. The driver, surnamed Lin (林), sustained serious head injuries, two fractured ribs and a concussion.
The incident caused a media sensation as more details were released after prosecutors launched an investigation.
Prosecutors yesterday said they were investigating whether Makiyo, a Taiwan-based Taiwanese-Japanese starlet, took part in last week’s assault, after questioning a witness who filmed the incident.
Makiyo and Tomoyori could be summoned for questioning again later in the day, prosecutors said.
The witness was another taxi driver identified by his surname Chiang (蔣).
A video taken from a dashboard camera on Chiang’s car shows a woman dressed in white appearing to kick the victim.
Chiang told prosecutors he was not sure if the woman was Makiyo and that he only knew there was a fight.
An investigation found that the incident occurred on Friday last week after Tomoyori, Makiyo and two local starlets known as A-tzu (ㄚ子) and Hsiang Ying (湘瑩) got into a taxi.
The driver asked Makiyo to fasten her rear seat belt, but she refused and an argument ensued.
Tomoyori later allegedly assaulted and seriously injured the driver.
In earlier reports, Makiyo was said to have kicked the taxi, but was not accused of having taken part in the alleged assault.
The case has sparked a public outcry in Taiwan, with thousands of netizens backing an online campaign to boycott Makiyo and her friends.
However, the media coverage has led to a backlash.
Jason Ho (何吉森), director of the commission’s communication content department, said the commission had received more than 20 complaints over the media coverage of the incident, from TV news programs and entertainment shows to talk shows.
“Media outlets kept reporting the incident because more information was revealed daily,” Ho said.
“Some members of the audience have said that the media have over-reported it, while others said the media had appeared to put the accused on trial. We cannot ban the media from reporting [the incident]. We can only ask the media to restrain themselves since prosecutors have begun to investigate the incident. There are other things that people care about,” Ho said.
Ho said some people had also complained about ETTV’s talk show This Is It (關鍵報告), in which one of the invited guests explained in detail how the driver had been beaten.
When asked if the content could potentially violate the Children and Youth Welfare Act (兒童少年福利法), Ho said that the department would have to examine the recorded material first.
Ho said the commission has called the journalism self--disciplinary committee of the Satellite Television Broadcasting Association and asked it to review the coverage of its members.
“We will intervene if the coverage has indeed crossed the line,” Ho said, adding that the commission could only ask the media to restrict coverage.
Meanwhile, Chen Chang-pang (陳昌邦), an official at the Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training under the Council for Labor Affairs, said foreigners who violate Republic of China (ROC) laws would be stripped of their working permit and not be able to reapply for a working permit for three years.