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What do you think are some of the main differences between the way Japanese and Western media report the news?

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Yes, the Japanese media are more reverential and less critical.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

The Japanese too often only write down what the govt or corporations tell them to. There is very little initiative among journalists because they are afraid of angering the rich and powerful.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Some criticize the adversarial nature of the Western press in some respects, but they should speak truth to power in their questioning of politics and business. Too many so-called news programs in Japan are segments blatantly promoting businesses and fawning over the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Very difficult question to answer.

It wasn't too many years ago that some professional Japanese journalists were being accusing by the Prime Minister's office on account of a failure to be impartial in political coverage. The government was pressuring broadcast media to reduce criticism of its policies, or face posible revocation of their licenses. It didn't happen, but that type of message can have a chilling effect on the profession.

The freedom of the press largely goes hand and hand with its quality. And overall, the World Press Freedom Index is one of the best overall measures of media freedom today. Produced by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), it is based on an evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework and safety of journalists. The top ranked countries in this year's study, of 180 countries, in order, are:

1 Norway

2 Finland

3 Sweden

4 Denmark

5 Costa Rica

6 Netherlands

7 Jamaica

8 New Zealand

9 Portugal

10 Switzerland

11 Belgium

12 Ireland

13 Germany

14 Canada

South Korea came in 42nd, Taiwan 43rd, the United Kingdom was 33rd, and The United States of America was 44th.

China was 177th, and North Korea was 179th.

Japan came in 67th. Just in front of Mongolia. Japan was 66th the previous year.

Of Japan, the RSF says:

Yoshihide Suga, Shinzo Abe’s former right-hand man and successor as prime minister since September 2020, has done nothing to improve the climate for press freedom. The world’s third biggest economic power, Japan respects the principles of media freedom and pluralism. But journalists find it hard to fully play their role as democracy’s watchdog because of the influence of tradition and business interests. Journalists have been complaining of a climate of mistrust toward them ever since the nationalist right swept to power in the 2012 general election. The system of “kisha clubs” (reporters’ clubs) continues to discriminate against freelancers and foreign reporters. On social networks, nationalist groups harass journalists who are critical of the government or cover “anti-patriotic” subjects such as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster or the US military presence in Okinawa. The government continues to refuse any debate about a law protecting “Specially-Designated Secrets,” under which whistleblowers, journalists and bloggers face up to ten years in prison if convicted of publishing information obtained “illegally”.

Everyone in the business should really take some quality time and evaluate its standards and practices, its quality and ethical standards, and disclosure of potential conflicts of interest in a world where it is a cutthroat business, while being physically dangerous and difficult to be a journalist.

https://rsf.org/en/ranking_table

https://rsf.org/en/japan

11 ( +13 / -2 )

What do you think are some of the main differences between the way Japanese and Western media report the news?

1 Norway

2 Finland

3 Sweden

4 Denmark

5 Costa Rica

6 Netherlands

7 Jamaica

8 New Zealand

9 Portugal

10 Switzerland

11 Belgium

12 Ireland

13 Germany

14 Canada

South Korea came in 42nd, Taiwan 43rd, the United Kingdom was 33rd, and The United States of America was 44th.

China was 177th, and North Korea was 179th.

Japan came in 67th. Just in front of Mongolia. Japan was 66th the previous year.

There's your answer right there. Thank you skeptical!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Care for several more rankings?

Australia was 25th.

Hong Kong was 88th. Indonesia was 113th. Malaysia was 119th. And the Philippines were 138th.

Of Hong Kong, the RSF said:

The national security law that the Chinese government adopted in June 2020, allowing it to intervene directly in Hong Kong in order to arbitrarily punish what it regards as “crimes against the state,” is especially dangerous for journalists. Jimmy Lai, the founder of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily and an RSF Press Freedom Prize laureate, has been arrested and charged under this law and is facing a possible life sentence. The public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) is being subjected to a full-blown intimidation campaign by the government with the aim of restricting its editorial autonomy. Nonetheless, there is resistance. It is being led by a handful of independent online media such as Citizen News, Stand News, The Initium, Hong Kong Free Press and inMedia. They exist thanks to participative funding and their audience is growing.

I suspect that Hong Kong's ratings may plunge in next years report.

https://rsf.org/en/hong-kong

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Back on topic please.

I guess it's more due to a difference in what information is released by the police in Japan, but the way so many crime reports contain quotes from the perpetrator when they've been arrested/charged comes across as unusual to me here in the UK.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Thanks for that Skeptical!

Basically, it pretty much comes down to journalistic independence. The west has it. Japan doesn't

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Yes, the Japanese media are more reverential and less critical.

"What flavor ice cream do you like, Mr. Prime Minister?"

Oh, wait... that was the US media to the president.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

News services are just following their own opinionated agendas rather than reporting facts.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

In the UK, we have a satirical magazine called Private Eye, the likes of which would never ever be allowed to be published in Japan.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Most of western media choreographs drama and tries to spin up emotional responses in their audience through talking heads with agendas into their so-called reporting. There are some Japanese talking heads on Sunday, but it's not relentless like in the west.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Zichi...

Western media like the BBC use many upfront very disabled people in their news reporting which you would never see at companies like NHK and others.

Hopefully, NHK will continue to choose the best person for the job and not try to fill "quotas" to appease minorities.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Hopefully, NHK will continue to choose the best person for the job and not try to fill "quotas" to appease minorities.

Quotas and appeasing minorities is the problem with NHK. Right Rudyard...

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Back on topic please.

Newsreaders appear younger, women often good-looking in Japanese programs. Some of them are hired from outside the broadcast organizations having little media professional backgrounds. Even "idol" celebrities can read news. But looking in a bright side, their appearance and popularity may be successful in drawing viewers' attentions up to substantial news stories (gaining more sponsors as well).

In Tokyo or from Tokyo-aired programs, things are well-structured or even well-scripted deciding what to say and how. They usually don't like contingencies, thus breaking news may test their ability of improvisations. NHK also prefers preparations, arranges details ahead of time.

Meanwhile in Osaka/Kansai it's often the case that there's only one piece of paper for instructions while the course of events is often decided or changed amid broadcasting.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In general I would say, compared to the West, the news here are less critical and less digging for background and also a bit more irrelevance biased when selected for wider publicity, but on the other hand luckily most of the published news are then some less p.c. restricted or ‘values’ decorated, more neutral so to say.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What do you think are some of the main differences between the way Japanese and Western media report the news?

In the US anyway, commercials. Lots of commercials. Even commercials about the so called news station. Like I need to watch a commercial for CNN or FOX if I’m already watching it. And these commercials are no different than dumb TV shows that keep you hanging with some information or guest until after the commercial.

pathetic corporate news.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

pathetic corporate news.

What should we be reading and watching to get our news?

Links would be great.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Depends on the time of day.

Morning news in Japan of the locals is like a SNL skit with a touch of David Letterman. Then when they go to network in Tokyo every 30 mins it is like an undertaker took over. Then at 10am you have the obligatory daily super great Ramen Report on each networkwhere the reporter shouts "Sugoiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii mmmm oishiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!" Afternoon and Evening news is the undertaker again.

US news on the legacy CBS, NBC, ABC, and PBS are stoic and boring. Cable "news" is a circus and in your face "let me tell you what I think and how it is and if you disagree you are fascist who kicks little puppies".

Japan: Odd or undertaker boring

USA: Snooze fest or three ring pathetic circus.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I also don't think Japan makes as many factual errors as in the west. One source reports something completely wrong and everyone copies the same mistake.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

In the UK, we have a satirical magazine called Private Eye, the likes of which would never ever be allowed to be published in Japan.

Have you looked around for such a publication in Japan? Here in the UK these days, most people don't know Private Eye exists.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

One of the major differences between Western news and Japanese is the reporting of suspects' professions (or lack-of). Japanese people learn history in school by examining events from a holistic perspective, analyzing the players, where they came from what their motivations were etc. This has carried over to news reporting, where people want to know about the suspect, what they do in life, what brought them to have potentially done the crime being reported upon. It seems weird to foreigners when they report someones profession, but it seems equally weird to Japanese people that we don't.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japanese people learn history in school by examining events from a holistic perspective, analyzing the players, where they came from what their motivations were etc.

And a lot of that is very historically inaccurate or lacking depending on the subject.

This has carried over to news reporting, where people want to know about the suspect, what they do in life, what brought them to have potentially done the crime being reported upon. It seems weird to foreigners when they report someones profession, but it seems equally weird to Japanese people that we don't.

To a certain point.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Western media is not like day old sushi, American news is consume on a minute by minute basis,

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In the UK, we have a satirical magazine called Private Eye, the likes of which would never ever be allowed to be published in Japan.

You obviously haven’t read any of the Jitsuwa series magazines, that include cartoons of politicians, celebrities, etc in very NSFW situations.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Japanese media in general is self-censoring and it shows. No questioning of the government or the ruling party. Minimum foreign news, the vast majority is domestic news. If it is foreign news, it is mostly negative. News is mostly delayed, there is no equivalent of LIVE news. Sticker boards, generally analogue format.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Western media is not first and foremost asking others what they think of them, then not bothering to show it unless it is drooling praise. Western media hasn't made a law where you can be arrested as an "enemy of the state" if you say things they don't like (Secret's Law). Japanese media makes questioners of Trump at a MAGA rally seem critical.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Comparing one country - Japan - to the "West" comprised of dozens of countries, is not a worthwhile exercise. I'm sure reporting in France, the US, Greece, NZ, Britain, Canada, Italy et al differ vastly.

However here, aside from the weeklies like the acerbic Shukan Bunshun the general media is to put it bluntly "flaccid".

Stifled by the power of huge corporate entities with Dentsu leading the way, and combined with political heaviness and the archaic KKK Kissha Klub Korp, you have the perfect storm for media control.

You only have to witness the in effect firing of popular say-it-as-it-is reporters like NHKs Hiroko Kuniya & Asahi's Ichiro Furutachi to realize that in the end politics dictates. Such firings would have been unheard of in any other democracy. As would the threat by the then communications minister in Abe's cabinet - Sanae Takaichi (surprise, surprise - not) who said the govt could revoke broadcasters licenses if they weren't impartial - read as kow-tow to the govt. In most democracies she'd been hung out to dry, but in Japan she was actually celebrated by the powers to be.

The above mentioned Hiroko Kuniya summed it all up in a quote from an essay of hers :

"...Ms Kuniya said "I feel that there is growing pressure to conform," adding that mass media is also complicit.

The relationship between the chiefs of major TV stations and newspapers are closely scrutinised by the public, mostly online, with some observers asking if they are censoring themselves to please the authorities. Some accuse the media of "colluding" with the government, or being "under its thumb"...."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese media insists on reporting suicides!! Creating copycat events.

also, one of the first things Abe did when he seized control again in 2012 was to purge the NHK board and put in his cronies. He also went after Ichiro Furutachi from TV Asahi, Shigetada Kishi of TBS’ News 23, and Hiroko Kuniya from NHK’s Close Up Gendai. All critics of LDP and of him. When I saw it happening I thought I was living in China!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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