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Next Media to be fined for violating child protection law

Next Media to be fined for violating child protection law

Taipei, Nov. 25 (CNA) Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-ping announced Wednesday that Next Media will be fined NT$500,000 for violating the Children and Youth Welfare Law by posting obscene motion graphic news on the Internet.
Next Media, publisher of the Chinese-language Apple Daily newspaper in Taiwan and Hong Kong, started the online graphic news service Nov. 16. Its reports about murders, sexual assaults and suicides, presented with disturbing motion graphics and narration, have since drawn complaints and stirred anger among many civic groups.
Hau said that as city mayor and the father of a junior high student he was concerned about the content of the service, which he described as improper and harmful to children and youth who are among the most enthusiastic Web users.
The city government decided to impose the most severe penalty on Next Media for failing to observe the rating system for news media content, he said. The media group may be fined again if it continues to violate the rating regulations, according to the mayor.
Stressing that the city government fully respects press freedom, Hau said the media should however be aware its social obligations and respect morality.
Meanwhile, Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah also mentioned a fine of between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000 and suspension of business for one month for any violation of the rating regulations of Internet content, referring to the Next Media case.
The minister said that if the media group is found to have broken the Children and Youth Welfare Law, the ministry could decide to impose the penalty on Thursday.
Having watched several clips of Next Media reports in motion graphics, the minister commented that reporting crime in virtual reality is a very bad practice. Although it is not forbidden in countries with freedom of speech, the protection of children and youth should be taken into consideration, he added.
(By Hsieh Chia-chen, Sun Chen-wu and Lillian Lin)