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Media shake-up after topless shots

Hong Kong magazine protest
Hong Kong movie starsJackie Chan (R) and Leung Ka Fai (L) shout slogans during a protest to condemn the magazine, outside Hong Kong government headquarters

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HONG KONG, China -- A Hong Kong magazine cover featuring a local actress's topless photo taken during her reported abduction 12 years ago has shaken up one of the most cut throat media markets in the world.

Eastweek magazine, which splashed the pictures across its latest edition, has suspended publication and may be prosecuted for breaching Hong Kong's obscenity laws.

The victim Carina Lau has been applauded for taking part in the protest herself and speaking out against sleaze.

"She said if this most regrettable incident has made the community aware of the importance of media ethics in our lives then what she has suffered does not really matter," says Nansun Shi, one of Lau's supporters.

What does matter -- some analysts say -- is an ongoing circulation war between local publications.

Hong Kong has 13 dailies and dozens of magazines. The fear is some will use ever more desperate measures to attract readers as they struggle to turn a profit.

"The economy of Hong Kong is going through a painful restructuring. Advertising is getting more competitive and there's tremendous pressure on editors and reporters to boost sales," comments Yuen Ying Chan a journalism professor.


The magazine's publisher Chan Yiu-on acknowledged responsibility for the matter, adding ""We regret the suspension of East Week. We deeply apologize to the victim, the public, the media, and the employees of the magazine," Reuters reported.

The magazine was released last week and while it did not name the actress many film fans were able to identify her.

According to local papers Lau was kidnapped and viciously assaulted 12 years ago, although a police report was not filed, according to Reuters news agency.

Hong Kong movie stars, including Jackie Chan, and groups held protests over the publication of the photograph over the weekend.

-- CNN's Andrew Brown contributed to this report

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