A newspaper known for its sensational coverage apologized yesterday for printing a front-page picture showing a politician's wife covered in blood after sustaining life-threatening injuries in a traffic accident.
The photograph in Sunday's edition of the Chinese-language Apple Daily depicted former actress Shaw Hsiao-ling (邵曉鈴), 57, lying prone on a stretcher, her jeans and blouse awash in red and her face hemorrhaging from the accident, which occurred on Saturday night.
Shaw is married to Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強).
Hu was slightly injured in the accident.
Since starting publication in the spring of 2003, Apple Daily has parlayed a daily formula of celebrity gossip, gory crimes and bloody accidents to become one of the nation's biggest newspapers. More than 90 percent of its sales are registered at newsstands -- as opposed to home delivery -- putting a premium on splashy graphics and eye-catching illustrations and photos.
Yesterday, Apple Daily admitted that its photograph may have exceeded the bounds of good taste.
"With the picture, we hoped to present the actuality of a news scene," the paper said in a statement. "We apologize if readers feel uncomfortable about it."
The previous day the newspaper's editor had strongly defended the publication of the photo, saying that it did not constitute an invasion of privacy and was printed in the public interest.
Apple's statement followed a raft of criticism by readers and officials, including Government Information Office Minister Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦), who said the picture constituted a "severe invasion of privacy," and could lead to the paper being punished.