Fri, Apr 13, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Legislators slam media over gory severed arm photos

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Lawmakers across party lines yesterday slammed newspapers for carrying a photo of a zoo veterinarian's severed arm in the mouth of a crocodile.

The photo was published on the front pages of yesterday's editions of the Chinese-language United Daily News, Apple Daily, as well as on page three of the China Times, without any digital effects to blur the grisly image.

The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper) also published the photo on its front page. It, however, had digitally blurred the arm and the image was taken from a distance.

"I almost vomited this morning when I saw the photo," Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) said, referring to the United Daily News, Apple Daily and China Times' coverage.

"The media should apologize for running such pictures," she said.

KMT Legislator Lin De-fu (林德福) urged the media to exercise self-restraint and refrain from publishing photos that could have ill effects on children.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) also demanded an apology from the United Daily News, the Apple Daily and the China Times.

"We worked hard to abolish the Publishing Law (出版法) for the benefit of freedom of speech in 1999," he said. "But now, the publishing of such a photo shows that the media had lost all semblance of self-discipline."

Wang said his party would not rule out introducing a new publishing law to regulate the print media should newspapers and magazines fail to properly exercise self-restraint.

A Government Information Office press release yesterday said that publishing such a gory picture without obscuring the arm may have scared young children and upset readers.

"We sincerely hope that the media will behave themselves in future," the statement read.

Additional reporting by Jimmy Chuang

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