Mon, Nov 17, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Group targets `Apple Daily' for gory content

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Apple Daily, a Chinese-language newspaper that began publication six months ago and which has acquired a reputation for its sensational stories, is the latest target of a media watchdog group that last month persuaded a television variety show to tone down its "vulgar" content.

"It is outrageous that Apple Daily, a newspaper with very gory, violent and erotic content, is easily accessible to children at convenience stores. We are thinking of holding protests in stores that sell Apple Daily," said Huang Mei-chai (黃美釵), vice chairperson of the Homemaker's Union and Foundation, a member of the Media-Monitor Alliance, which campaigns against what it sees as unsuitable content in various media.

Another member of the alliance, the Taiwan Social Work Union, said that, unlike television programs, newspapers could be bought and read anytime and anywhere.

"The downside to this convenience is that vulgar newspapers are available to people who should not be reading them. Maybe starting from now, newspapers should be rated just like TV programs and consequently their distribution outlets would be more restricted," said Chiang Chi-hsuan (江季璇), chairman of the Taiwan Social Work Union.

Chiang said that Apple Daily had a tendency to focus on arguments among family members and gory traffic accidents.

"The focus on verbal attacks and blood does not reflect anything good to society," Chiang said.

Hong Ning (洪寧), a representative of the Taiwan Parents Association for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, took particular exception to a story the newspaper printed in August about two allegedly mentally disabled brothers having sexual relationships with their mother.

"In the article, there was a graphic presentation of how the brothers had sexual interactions with their mother, which was a total fabrication and tarnished the image of mentally disabled people," Hong said.

Hong said that according to the Kaohsiung Bureau of Social Affairs, which investigated the case, the brothers were not mentally disabled and the Apple Daily exaggerated many aspects of the case.

The Apple Daily apologized for the story and made corrections in October, Hong said.

The alliance also took aim at variety shows for their sexually explicit discussions and images.

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