Sun, Jan 11, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Paper pressured over lurid contents

BOYCOTT PROPOSED Pictures of girls in skimpy clothes and headlines like `XXX reveals that she likes to touch her own boobs' are harmful to children, social groups say


Chi Hui-jung, chief executive officer of the Garden of Hope Foundation, points to a page from the Apple Daily yesterday. The foundation and other social groups called for a boycott of the daily unless it removes sexually suggestive content, as promised in a statement earlier this week.


Social groups yesterday urged the Chinese-language Apple Daily to further tone down its sexually suggestive contents, threatening with a consumer boycott if the newspaper does not comply. The government was also urged to consider implementing a rating system for local newspapers.

The Garden of Hope Foundation, Child Welfare League Foundation (CWLF) and The League of Taipei Social Welfare joined forces to express their disappointment with the "improved" Apple Daily.

The Media Monitor Alliance last week issued a warning to the Apple Daily about its suggestive contents, following which the newspaper published a statement on Thursday saying it would remove suggestive material.

The social groups said yesterday that Thursday's and Friday's editions of the Apple Daily still contained pictures of girls in skimpy clothes, and provocative headlines such as "XXX reveals that she likes to touch her own boobs."

"We urge parents not to buy the Apple Daily, because its contents are not suitable for children," said CWLF executive director Alicea Wang (王育敏).

The groups said that, while children should receive proper sexual education and lessons on gender equality, the adult media was actually achieving the opposite result by transmitting improper sexual information to children.

"Daily newspapers should carry contents that's suitable for the general public. The Apple Daily's pornographic contents are already in violation of the Children and Juveniles Welfare Law (兒童及少年福利法)," said Connie Lin (林育卉), CEO of the Broadcasting Development Fund.

The law stipulates that children should not have access to pornographic or violent material that could harm their mental health. Those who provide violent or pornographic material to children can be fined.

Several Legislators, including Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lai Chin-lin (賴勁麟), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖), and People First Party Legislator Chao Liang-yen (趙良燕), also showed their support for the issue.

"The government should consider rating the newspapers. If the Apple Daily is only selling to adults, then it would be okay. Corporations should shoulder the responsibilities they have toward society," Lai said.

Chung Hsiu-hsien (鍾修賢), director of the Department of Publication Affairs under the Government Information Office, said rating newspapers was not an easy task.

According to Chung, establishing a rating system would be difficult, because there was no country in the world that rates its newspapers. There is also a great output of different newspapers, and rating every single edition would be problematic.

According to existing regulations, restricted publications should be wrapped and marked with a warning sign. "But, yes, Apple's contents are not suitable for children," Chung said.

Liao Ching-chih (廖靜芝), chief secretary of the Ministry of the Interior's Children's Bureau, said although the Apple Daily did clean up its contents somewhat over the past two days, it was still not enough.

Liao said it would be difficult to punish the newspaper under existing laws, because the Apple Daily was not a rated publication.

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