Saturday, December 18, 2010

More Media Issues: New Child Protection Laws

Another issue I've just been alerted to: an NGO is pushing a bill through the Legislative Yuan. Its backers are trying to push it through the LY by the end of this month. A friend described it to me:
It's about an NGO-backed amendment to child protection laws purportedly aimed at protecting the sensitivities of the nation's youth that would make it illegal for newspapers to describe certain criminal behavior (e.g. murder, drug use, or suicide) in extensive detail (using either words or pictures.)

Basically, if passed, it would mean that when reporting on the recent Sean Lien shooting case, newspapers would have only been able to say "Sean Lien has been shot" or something similar and that would be about it.
The media of all political stripes are against it. Apple Daily has had several editorials on it, noting:
此新增條文是以大幅限制言論新聞自由為手段而達其保護兒童少年身心之目的;但從《憲法》保障人民基本權利的角度觀察,其所採取的手段與欲達成的目的是否有必要性?

This new provision in the law substantially restricts speech and media freedom in the name of protecting children and adolescents. But from the standpoint of Constitutional protections of the people's basic rights, is it necessary to use such measure to achieve this goal?
But one can't help noting that Taiwan's sensationalistic news, with its constant invasions of privacy -- filming bleeding people hauled off in ambulances, barging into emergency rooms -- has, at least in part, brought this on itself. Perhaps some negotiation with the LY as a body to accept voluntary regulation would stem the necessity for odious legal restrictions?

REF: Draft of law in Chinese:
《兒少法》修正草案增列「報紙條款」重點
◎第44條 新聞紙不得刊載下列有害兒童及少年身心健康之內容: 描述(繪)犯罪、施用毒品、自殺行為細節之文字或圖片。描述(繪)暴力、血腥、色情、猥褻、強制性交細節之文字或圖片。
◎第90條(罰則) 違反第44條各款規定之一,刊載有害兒童及少年身心健康之新聞紙內容者,處新聞紙業之負責人新台幣10萬元以上、50萬元以下罰鍰,並公布其姓名或名稱。註 .兒童及少年定義為未滿18歲之人; 《兒少法》修正草案僅完成初審,須待立院三讀通過。
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6 comments:

阿牛 said...

The simplified Chinese graph is a little different and quite interesting when contrasted against the traditional one:

http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=%E9%92%93%E9%B1%BC%E5%8F%B0&year_start=1960&year_end=2008&corpus=11&smoothing=3

Michael Turton said...

It's a fascinating tool.

Thoth Harris said...

Good news for locals? In your dreams, buddy! The rise in wages only accompanies the rise in inflation. Haven't you noticed the dramatic rise in prices these past two years?

Michael Turton said...

Ugh. Thanks for the downer reminder, Thoth.

Robert Scott Kelly said...

I haven't noticed a dramatic rise in prices these past two years. Where has it occurred outside housing (which does not include rent)?

Thoth Harris said...

@Robert Scott Kelly A pretty good indicator of the rise in prices is the rise of milk prices. The fact that one has to pay 140 - 150 dollars for two litres of milk speaks volumes, to my ears, at least. I have actually cut back as a result, and mostly eat imported American cheese from A-Mart and RT-Mart (which hasn't gone up, ironically).
But food prices in general have gone up in the past two or three years, particularly vegetables. The typhoons are partly responsible for this, but it's a little more than that. It is real estate and gas prices (mind you, the latter has levelled somewhat). But even if rents and ownership have gotten more expensive mostly in Taipei, such a situation has a ripple effect. It makes everything rise in cost. I'm sure you can use your imagination to figure out why.