Sat, Nov 25, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Protesters beseige the `Apple Daily'

ROTTEN APPLE? The newspaper was accused of treating people's suffering as a comodity after it ran a photograph of a bloodied and injured Shaw Hsiao-ling

By Max Hirsch  /  STAFF REPORTER

A group of protesters vent their anger outside the headquarters of the Apple Daily newspaper in Taipei yesterday. They were appalled by the photo of Taichung Mayor Jason Hu's injured wife which the paper ran on its front page the day after she was seriously injured in a car accident.

PHOTO: CNA

The Apple Daily newspaper profits from death and suffering, said members of more than 15 non-government organizations (NGO) yesterday.

Amid a public outcry against the newspaper's recent front-page photograph of Taichung Mayor Jason Hu's (胡志強) wife Shaw Hsiao-ling (邵曉鈴), Apple Daily's Taipei office was besieged yesterday by protesters demanding that the newspaper clean up its coverage.

The photograph, published last Sunday following a traffic accident, showed a blood-soaked Shaw extending her right hand toward the camera as she lay on a stretcher.

Many have interpreted Shaw's gesture as a plea to the photographer to spare her from capturing her likeness in a moment of terror.

"By photographing it and slapping it on their pages, the Apple Daily treats people's suffering as a commodity," said Kuan Chung-hsiang (管中祥), President of Media Watch, a local NGO that promotes ethical news standards.

Guan added that he and fellow protesters felt that an apology from Apple Daily wasn't enough; the newspaper must stop infringing on privacy and other human rights in its reporting on tragic events.

Sun Yi-hsin (孫一信), a member of the Parents' Association for Persons with Mental Disabilities said that although Shaw's case had galvanized protesters yesterday, they were equally concerned for the less famous subjects of the Apple Daily's coverage of tragedies.

"Why do we have to nearly throw up our breakfast every morning because of Apple Daily photos?" Sun said over a loudhailer.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an Apple Daily reporter said yesterday that the newspaper sold out quickly last Sunday due to its reporting on Shaw.

"You can't chew us out and then love to read us," the reporter said, adding "it's human nature to want to view that kind of stuff," referring to Shaw's photograph.

If readers were truly disgusted with the newspaper, they would stop reading it, the reporter said.

Apple Daily Deputy Editor-in-Chief Hsieh Su-chuan (謝素娟) said yesterday that the controversy surrounding Shaw's picture had resulted in editorial meetings to discuss the newspaper's tragedy coverage.

"We have been talking about this," said Hsieh, adding that her newspaper was reviewing how it handles such pictures of "well-known people."

Hsieh distributed a statement to protesters, claiming Shaw's right to privacy was respected because the Apple Daily blurred parts of her photograph.

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