TAIWAN: Alliance presses public to boycott 'Apple Daily'

The Media Monitor Alliance yesterday urged the tabloid-style Apple Daily Taiwan to remove two of its sexually explicit pages within a week, or the alliance will boycott the publication

Taipei Times
Monday, December 15, 2003

By Cody Yiu

The Media Monitor Alliance yesterday urged the tabloid-style Apple Daily Taiwan to remove two of its sexually explicit pages within a week, or the alliance will boycott the publication.

"Since Nov. 16, when the Alliance made the first public call upon Apple Daily Taiwan to improve its content, Apple Daily has been sincere enough to make some improvements, which we are thankful for. However, we still hope Apple would remove pages F1 and F2 soon, before the alliance asks for the cooperation of distribution channels in boycotting the newspaper," said Connie Lin, CEO of the Broadcasting Development Fund, which is a key member of the alliance.

Pages F1 and F2 usually contain sexually explicit images and language, such as an English column of sexual expressions.

According to Lin, the alliance has already received wide support from distribution channels for a boycott.

"Many distribution outlets have agreed not to sell Apple Daily in their stores if we stage a boycott," Lin said.

Lin said that the alliance will keep observing the newspaper till the end of January.

"The alliance might also consider heading to Apple Daily's office to talk directly to the head of the newspaper if necessary," Lin said.

Lu Shih-hsiang, chairman of the Foundation for the Advancement of Media Excellence, as well as a long-time media observer, gives Apple Daily credit for its honesty.

"Apple Daily is the first newspaper in Taiwan which makes corrections and follows the Audit Bureau of Circulation's guidelines about publicly announcing its monthly circulation figures," Lu said.

However, he agrees with the rest of the alliance members that pages F1 and F2 are inappropriate in a daily newspaper.

"Newspapers should have content that is appropriate for a general readership. Although I have lived abroad for a long time, I do not agree with the idea that publishing pornography is practicing freedom of speech," Lu said.

Lu also thinks that Apple Daily has a lot of room for growth without the two controversial pages.

"Apple Daily has very good shopping information pages, which are very popular among its readers. Many readers also find the more relaxed style of Apple Daily easier to read than the serious tone used in other newspapers," he said.

Lu believes Apple Daily may have a positive effect on the Taiwanese newspaper industry.