Taiwan fines newspaper for motion crime news

AP News
Posted: Nov 26, 2009 1:17 AM

A daily newspaper in Taiwan has been fined for illustrating news stories involving crime and violence in vivid animation on its Web site, an official said Thursday.

The Apple Daily was fined 500,000 New Taiwan dollars ($15,500) Wednesday for using motion graphics to reconstruct and illustrate stories of rape, sexual assault and violence that appeared in the newspaper, said Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin.

"We respect news freedom, but news media must not air improper content with no restraint on the pretext of news freedom," Hau told a news conference.

Regulators will continue to monitor the paper's new online and mobile phone service and may fine the paper on a daily basis for any explicit scenes of sex and violence, Hau said.

Apple Daily _ published by Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai _ launched the "Motion News" service last week, a trial run as the Apple Group expands from print to television. The service is accessible only to those readers who pay a fee.

Since its debut in 2003, Apple Daily has been wildly successful in Taiwan, taken the island by storm with its celebrity gossip, gory crime stories and eye-catching, explicit illustrations of bloody accidents.

The paper reported the penalty on its front page Thursday said it would review the "Motion News" service. The paper toned down its online and mobile service Thursday, using still images or motion graphics that show the backs, instead of fronts, of characters involved in a rape and an alleged assault of a child by her father.

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Editor-in-Chief Ma Wei-min said the paper would not drop the service altogether, although might consider making it less graphic.

"When it comes to controversial content, perhaps we would no longer reproduce the scenes in such actuality," he told the protesters.