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Apple Daily fined for violent animated news
More investigations are on the way: prosecutors
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
Page 2
2009-11-27 12:00 AM
The Taipei District Prosecutors Office opened an investigation into the animated news presented by Apple Daily yesterday despite the paper's apologies for its violent content.

A prosecutor specializing in cases involving women and children would handle the initial stage of the investigation, the office said. Infractions against public decency, incitement to crime and violations of the protection of children and minors against sexual acts might be the directions the investigation will take, according to the prosecutors' office.

After a public outcry against the graphic violence on the Internet- and cell phone-based service, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin fined Next Media Interactive Limited, the publisher of the Apple Daily, NT$500,000 for violations of the Children and Youth Welfare Act.

The city issued a second NT$500,000 fine yesterday after it found the news service still carried some offensive content. Since issues of the Apple Daily contained a pin number which allowed viewers to watch even racier content, the city also advised to ban the newspaper from school campuses and city libraries.

A spokesman for the Apple Daily apologized for the explicit content of its animated news yesterday after protesters showed up outside its Taipei offices. Reading a six-point statement to reporters, editor-in-chief Ma Wei-min said the company would stop broadcasting the most controversial items. The animated news would stop using a too realistic way of describing crimes, Ma said, adding he welcomed suggestions and criticism. The paper would continue the news service though because it was an original innovation, Ma said.

The activists from education and women's rights groups accused the media group of violating human rights while also inflicting harm on the victims of crime. Representatives of the protesters, including the Awakening Foundation, sat down with Apple Daily managers for one hour but said afterward they had not reached an agreement.

The newspaper did not promise to keep sexual assaults, sexual harassment, child molestation and domestic violence out of the animated news service, the protesters said.

Next Media's television arm tried to limit the fallout from the case yesterday by placing newspaper ads expressly denying allegations that the animated news was a trial run for its own services.

Its application to launch five television channels is likely to face a tougher review at the National Communications Commission next month as a result of the outcry against the animated news.

Next Media top man Jimmy Lai originally recruited a former close ally of President Ma Ying-jeou, Taipei ex-Vice Mayor King Pu-tsung, to head his television effort. King later left the company amid disagreements with Lai over the animated news plans, reports said.

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