Thursday, December 03, 2009

An Apple a Day Keeps the News Awry

Apple's Indecent Cartoons Make Global News: Apple Daily put out a cartoon of Tiger Woods (at Salon)., for example, not only misspelled TAIWAN but note the third to last word in the URL there:

Many other news organizations picked up the video. If it makes Apple Daily stop putting out these borderline slanderous, pandering animations, so much the better. The whole media atmosphere would benefit if Apple stopped this crap.

Taipei Mayor Hau's banning of Apple Daily from elementary schools also made the international news, picked up by MSNBC as Keith Olberman named him the World's Worst Person, mostly tongue in cheek, and then played the Apple Daily video of Tiger Woods' alleged sex life. Yes, it is so rare for a wealthy celebrity who travels a lot to have affairs with women much younger than himself; the whole world should be interested when that occurs. Hau had taken firm action against Apple....
The Hau administration gave Next Media Ltd, publisher of the Apple Daily, two fines totaling NT$1 million (US$31,000) for publishing sensational content in violation of media classification regulations in the Children and Juveniles Welfare Act (兒童及青少年福利法).

The city government also ordered all schools in the city to cancel their subscriptions to the newspaper because it contained a barcode enabling free downloads of News-in-Motion clips to cellphones.
The video service, called News in Motion, was launched last week by Apple Daily:
He [Hau] said it was the appropriate course of action now that the Apple Daily had decided to classify the content, adding that it proved that the city was right.

The city will continue to monitor News-in-Motion, he said, to ensure that it conforms to the Children and Juveniles Welfare Act (兒童及青少年福利法).

Hau made the remarks while attending an annual prayer breakfast meeting in Taipei yesterday.[MT - we have prayer breakfasts here?]

The Apple Daily — published by Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai (黎智英) — launched the feature last week in a trial run as the Apple Group expands from print to TV.

The service is only accessible to readers who pay a fee.

It uses animated graphics to reconstruct stories that appear in the newspaper and can also be viewed by cellphone users who scan a bar code printed in the newspaper. Some of the stories feature sexual content and violence.

The Taipei City Government fined Next Media on Wednesday and Thursday for violating the media classification regulations in the Children and Juveniles Welfare Act.
The calls for regulation did not go unheeded, as Taiwan's legislature, following in the tradition of legislative bodies the world over who are always ready to act rapidly in making gaudy displays of public morality, is pushing through revisions to the laws regulating the media:
In order to control violent and sexually explicit news content in TV, online and print media, lawmakers and civic groups have joined hands to push for revisions to relevant laws.

The Legislative Yuan’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee reviewed draft revisions to the Children and Youth Welfare Act Dec. 2. Although no progress was made in reviewing the bill, lawmakers have been active in working together to push for relevant legal revisions. Kuomintang Legislators Hung Hsiu-chu, Alex Fai and Shyu Jong-shyoung have proposed amendments to the broadcasting laws.

In their proposal, the lawmakers explain that the scenes of criminal acts, including sexual assaults and murders, reconstructed in graphic detail on Next Media Ltd.’s online “news-in-motion” service are harmful to viewers, undermine human rights, damage social values and violate journalistic ethics and morals.

It is very tempting to see this kerfluffle as payback to Apple Daily's owner, Jimmy Lai, for attempting to buy into Taiwan's cable media market when he went after the China Times group, which was eventually acquired by Robert Tsai, the ardently pro-China tycoon. In the very least, it is tempting to read it as a shot across the bow, as if to say, don't get out of line again. One is also tempted to point out that nailing the foreigner/outsider for not having approved sexual mores, a variation on the familiar trope of They're rogering our women! with a media-appropriate Save our children from them!, may well be swelling a few heads here.

In fact the National Communications Commission (NCC) is reviewing Apple/Next's application for a cable news and information network:
The controversy surrounding “News-in-Motion” has placed tremendous pressure on the National Communications ­Commission (NCC), which is in the process of reviewing the group’s application to establish the Next TV network. The applications include plans for “News-in-Motion” to feature on its news channel.

NCC spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said that Next TV’s chances of securing an operating license for its news and information channels are very low, especially in the wake of the “News-in-Motion” scandal.

Chen said that the commission would review the three other channels that the group intends to set up — entertainment, sports and movie channels — this week, adding that commissioners are likely to approve them as they are “less controversial.”
It sure is tempting to say that Jimmy Lai is getting "the treatment" to make sure he understands his place in the scheme of things.

But I would never ever ever say such a thing.
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Unknown said...

Jimmy Lai is the Rupert Murdoch of Asia. He is here to stay. He might even end up branching out in the massively international way that Murdoch has. I just think the Appeale (grown!) is funny.
The difference between Murdoch and Lai, in my opinion, is what is important to them Murdoch's primary motivation is money and politics (push his agenda while reaping huge profits). Lai's motivation is simply to make huge profits. Strangely enough, Murdoch's products actually have better quality. But I am rooting for Lai, as long as he doesn't end up in bed with the pro-Chinese racket. I can't help but be amused if Lai ends up beating Murdoch at the Media Empire Game.

Anonymous said...

This post starts well but ends up in a conspiracy theory. You're in danger of becoming as irrelevant as the 9/11 "Truthers".

Anonymous said...

Apple Daily should leave Tiger Woods and Family alone .

It should show concern for the total chaos in the traffic situation in Tainan and Yung Kang where accidents multiplied every day.

AIT was truthful when it said eating American beef is much more safer than riding your scooters here in Taiwan.

President Ma should ride a scooter to work before eating delicious American steaks!


Michael Turton said...

Thoth, Lai is interesting in that he won't publish in China.

Anon, there's nothing conspiratorial about tried-n-true harassment tactics.

Anonymous said...

Michael-but as with many of your claims, it is pure conjecture. You have nothing to back it up.
Just as likely that Mayor Hau is trying to increase his national profile, and is finding some populist issues to help him (as with the American beef issue)

Michael Turton said...

Michael-but as with many of your claims, it is pure conjecture. You have nothing to back it up.

Hahahahahahaha. Wait -- no -- you've suddenly discovered that I engage in speculation based on known behavior patterns?

Imagine that.

Anonymous said...

Speculation and conjecture and nothing more.
Maybe his violent cartoon news will be stopped. I wish they would also go after him for carrying photographs of dead and mangled bodies in his newspapers. Or would you also put that down to some kind of conspiracy?
Whatever, his business empire is hardly being threatened. The link you carried said that three of his cable channels are likely to be approved. His Apple Daily still has its huge circulation. I'm sure he isn't losing much sleep over this.

skiingkow said...

I just want to say that I find it amusing that the media's focus is on Tiger Wood's "image", when this man makes over 100 MILLION dollars a year playing a...


Maybe we should be discussing this outrageous aspect, ya think?


Michael Turton said...

I"m sure he's not losing sleep either. Never said it was bothering him.