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Wed, Jul 04, 2001 - Page 4 News List

TV celebrity Jacky targets paparazzi's muckraking

UNCOVERED The host of popular TV variety shows duped `Next' into publishing a negative story about him, and says officials should do more to curb sensational journalism

By Michael Wong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Talkshow host and celebrity bad boy Jacky Wu (吳宗憲) is staging a campaign against paparazzi-style journalism in a bid to rid Taiwan of muckraking reporters.

Wu yesterday visited the Gover-nment Information Office (GIO), a signed petition letter in hand, as a part of his battle against paparazzi journalism.

Wu, a widely known host of popular TV variety shows, grandiosely calls the campaign "A hero's fight against the paparazzi" (打狗英雄).

Wu's fight began after he duped Next magazine into printing a sensational article based on videotape evidence that he had fabricated.

On the tape, Wu -- who is married with four children -- appears entering an apartment with Chong Cheng (鐘甄), a former porn star.

The tape was delivered to Next, and the magazine published a cover story based on its contents and interviews with both Wu and Chong in its June 28 edition.

Afterward, Wu made his next move -- publicly accusing the magazine of publishing false information.

But the magazine did seek comments on the relationship between Chong and Wu. Chong in the story denied any relationship. Wu said, "Even if I denied any relationship, you won't believe me anyway, so I'm not going to say."

In Wu's petition yesterday, the celebrity outlined the negative effects paparazzi have on a society and said reporters for muckraking publications should be refused interviews and access to press conferences.

The petition included signatures from people representing 12 groups and companies.

GIO spokesperson Chang Yu-jan (張裕然) said there was little the government could do.

"The power of the GIO cannot compare to the power of the freedom of the press in this democratic society," Chang said. "Wu may have better success petitioning the News Opinions Committee, Taiwan Media Watch Foundation or the Mother's Supervision for Media Foundation."

Wu said the government could take steps to prevent reporters from going too far in their coverage of celebrities and high-profile figures. He noted that the UK enacted tougher laws on the press in the aftermath of the death of Princess Diana.

"Taiwan should follow suit and not allow paparazzi to pollute our environment," Wu said.

Wu promised to continue his fight against paparazzi reporters.

The TV star himself has been the subject of unwanted media coverage. Last year, a local newspaper revealed that Wu had been married for 10 years and had four children.

For years, Wu had denied that he had a wife or children, but later said he lied to protect his family.

Wu hosts six variety talk shows and spends a total of 21 hours on air a week. He was Channel V's "Favorite Chinese Person of the Year" last year and was profiled in the May 14 issue of Time's Asia edition. He owns a dozen restaurants, a record label and his own cable channel, ET Jacky.

The 38-year-old is best known for his racy jokes, sexual innuendo and the wacky stunts that he makes other celebrities perform on his variety shows.

Recently, several legislators asked Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) to try to ban Next magazine's reporters from following public figures around.

Other legislators have issued written requests, demanding that the Government Information Office and the Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of the Interior stop the magazine from poking into people's private lives.

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