politics

LDP panel summons media bosses over news programs

47 Comments
By Linda Sieg

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47 Comments
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The slide continues, first the press, then lord knows what's next..........

32 ( +34 / -2 )

Note to Abe and the LDP: Don't get too cocky. Picking on the media is a shortcut to political ruin. Trying to muzzle the freedom of the press at the national broadcaster (NHK) and the only half-decent private broadcaster (Asahi) is not kosher. One of these days, there will be pay back.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

I'm shocked! Shocked, I say! Unbelievable that certain organizations would seek to actively quell criticism of TPTB. I'm surprised tthe comments are even open here.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Okay, now I can see where concerns should be raised. Leaking information I can accept is something broadcasters shouldn't do, but there's nothing wrong with being critical of the government of the day... they are our servants after all.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Not surprised in the slightest, it's just a another event in the chain of similar things happening recently. What does truly upset me though is how little Japan as a nation seems to care, or worse, seem to think it's fair.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he didn’t know details but that he had been told there was no intent to put pressure on media.

I really don't know how he can say that with a straight face. The LDP is really tightening the screws of censorship through implied threats.

Japan and other countries have been down this path before. Needless to say, it did not end well.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Didn't we have this comment before: "I don't know the details".

If he doesn't, then who?

The freedom of speech, the freedom of press is going down the drain ..... what will be next?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Well, something like this was always going to happen, when the government has an agenda they'll spurt any amount of shit. You just can't trust any government on what they say

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Folks Japan's media have been self censoring for many a decade & when they get a little bit in a reporting mood they get hammered behind the scenes, THERE IS NO FREEDOM OF PRESS IN JAPAN! Its a charade!

That said clearly things are worse than usual, not a good sign!

18 ( +19 / -1 )

The media representatives should refuse to meet the LDP panel as they have no obligation to do so.

Pro-LDP bias is already evident in NHK "news", e.g. the regular "North Korea abductees" item. What Abe is doing now is trying to stifle any discussion of his constitutional reforms, reforms which will remove freedoms and liberties and transfer powers to the state. Abe doesn't want any discussion of his policies, all he wants us to hear are the lies of Suga.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

I think it was Aso who admired the efficiency of the Germany under Hitler. You can see that playing out via the LDP.

Mr Aso had said in a speech that: "The German Weimar constitution changed, without being noticed, to the Nazi German constitution. Why don't we learn from their tactics?"

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Yeah agreed tell the ldp to take a long walk off a short pier!! What do they think Japan is NKorea!!??!!! We may well be headed in that direction!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Scary...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"Asked about the hearing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he didn’t know details but that he had been told there was no intent to put pressure on media."

Wow... the people in power sure don't seem to know a lot about anything when it comes to talking about people being fired for, or 'pressured' to leave, going against them. Just this morning it was the head of the nuclear watchdog saying, "I don't know the details, but they didn't understand!", and then we have the apologist Suga again, not knowing anything but SURE it was not one way. And I agree... how he can say "there was no intent to put pressure on the media" with a straight face is impossible to take seriously and hard to believe he could even pretend to be.

But we all knew this was coming. As Abe and his cronies push more and more to be like China they are developing China's tactics in terms of strong-arming and censoring the media. Then when that comes to light, what do they do? Why, they form an 'independent' investigation to check themselves out!

4 ( +8 / -4 )

It's simply censorship ... The LDP is doing all kinds of things illegally, why not controlling the press, too ...

10 ( +10 / -0 )

but there's nothing wrong with being critical of the government of the day... they are our servants after all.

Forgive me but this is not true in Japan, the only time politicians here feel like they are servants of their electorate is during an election cycle and as long as they keep them happy, dont get caught and publicly outed, with their fingers in some honey pot or skimming election funds they are aloof and do no more than pay lip service to the needs of the people.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

What right does the LDP have to summon members of the media?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A depressing but certainly not surprising development. The fact that government is able to "summon" media representatives to discuss the content of news programmes is in itself alarming.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What right does the LDP have to summon members of the media?

Do you have any understanding of how the government and press work here in Japan? Typically the press are lapdogs of the ruling party and those who don't follow the party line lose access to the press club in the diet building and are kept out of the loop, thus losing any chance at getting interviews or "inside" info from the government.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Kisha clubs. Yup!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

You cant have a conversation behind closed doors and then say theres no attempt to apply pressure. If the LDP think NHK have breached their broadcasting guidlines, they should demand a public inquiry. Democracy demands a free press.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

PM Abe believes the SDF is his army, he refers them as 'waga gun' Is this dictator-in-the-making going to lead Japan to a 3rd world war???

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) information and telecommunications strategy panel will question officials from broadcaster TV Asahi and NHK public TV on Friday, an aide to lawmaker Jiro Kawasaki, who heads the committee, told Reuters.

Holy cow, Batman! What right does a panel from a political party have to "summon" anyone to a hearing? In a democracy? This is very scary, and the fact that these two broadcasters feel compelled to attend, shows just how truly broken politics in Japan is, and what a sham its fourth estate is as well. And folks on this site critisize China for its control of the media? LOL.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

'An NHK spokesman declined comment on the LDP hearing.'

He was busy writhing around getting a tummy rub at the time.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It's not only domestic journalists. I highly recommend everyone here check out the Tokyo Foreign Correspondents Club's farewell from Carsten Germis, correspondent from the rather conservative German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, on his experience in Japan and how much things have changed once Abe came into power. To quote Germis, "There is a growing gap between the perceptions of the Japanese elites and what is reported in the foreign media, and I worry that it could become a problem for journalists working here...It could become a problem because Japan's new elites have a hard time dealing with opposing views or criticism, which is very likely to continue in the foreign media."

He relates how, after writing about Abe's penchant for historical revisionism (something which German observers are by their own historical past now very sensitive about), his paper was paid a visit by a representative from the Japanese Consul General's office who first complained that the article was being used by Japan's political enemies abroad, then actually had the gall to allege that Germis had been bribed by those very powers to write the piece! To quote: "I am forced to begin to suspect that money is involved," said the diplomat, insulting me, the editor and the entire paper. (end quote.)

Google FCCJ and "On my watch." It makes for interesting and, unfortunately, timely reading.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

In a culture of bullying, even in the press, it's not so unusual.

The sad thing is that it can fly here. In other modern western cultures, there would be confrontation. Confrontation- the reason why Japanese avoid such matters. No spine. So the silent majority justs "accepts" cause that is exactly what they're taught to do.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The media reps should be sure to give this plenty of coverage. Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel and paper by the ton

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Free speech is alive and well here all right. Maybe for a few more days. .

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japan plummeted in ranking since the Fukushima debacle - from "most free" to "noticeable problems" (see Press Freedom Index).

Now, anyone in Japan who knew about the kisya system knew Japan wasn't as free as they put on. It took the Fukushima disaster and consequent Nonsense Express to make the foreign based Reporters Without Border, the guys who put out the Press Freedom Index, to notice.

Look, we all know that Japan is largely a free country -- as long as you don't rock the boat. As long as you play ball. As soon as you start to assert your individuality, you get squashed. The problem with the Japanese press is reflective of the society's problem with freedom:

Freedom means having the ability to say "to hell with all of you, this is what I think." And that is something you just cannot do in Japan.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I fear the Japanese media is on the way to being put on lock down by the govt in what they say.And what is worse,they'll adhere.So-called democracies don't work like that,but then again Japan is not a true blue one as such so....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

how long do we have to endure mr abe and his cronies???

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Then make a new news company comprised of all those forced to resign/fired because of their criticism. Put catchy shows on and other things to attract viewers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sadly the Abe Shinzo administration is intent on creating a "beautiful country" 美しい国 in which only the people who pass government expected beauty contests in terms of the way they think are allowed to make appearances. I have said before that the Abe mindset is proto-fascist, and he and his ilk are demonstrating that again and again.

When will America speak to the oppression of freedom of expression in Japan? It was after all the MacArthur constitution that enshrined that right. Of course, Abe wishes to change the constitution to re inject beauty to Japan.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"Proto-fascist?"

What on earth does that mean?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They should question themselves as to how they can let someone so obviously unqualified as Katsuto Momii head NHK.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

They'll say, "We don't practice censorship. It's Moderation. Learn the difference."

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, someone once said.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is sick and sad at the same time. It's good I read this news in the foreign press ( not the foreign correspo is club). Can't keep this stuff secret.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Didnt NHK just get rid of the news watch anchor Kensuke Okoshi as he was speaking his mind about different things and not towing the official line. Recently the 9 O'clock news is such soft prpoganda.The old poor old japan during the war etc.Sickening.And as mentioned that article in the Japan foreign correspondents web page where he say that any comment about Japan not in line with the govt is seen as Japan bashing.Japan needs to grow up quickly.They are like a spoilt child.throwing their toys out of the pram when they dont get their way.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Abe's goons will say, "We don't practice censorship. It's Moderation. Learn the difference."

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, someone once said."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"... the move coincides with growing concerns about a trend toward self-censorship by media worried about sparking government anger and..."

The self-censorship is a result of actual censorship. Or another euphemism could be the ambiguous term moderation.

The plain fact is that speaking plain words of opposition causes fear in the weak-minded.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But the move coincides with growing concerns about a trend toward self-censorship by media worried about sparking government anger and losing access to sources.

A tame media suits Mr Shinzo Abe just fine

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Political parties (in this case a political party) should not summon media and media shouldn;t participate in such meeting. If a political party does not want media criticize it, behave good. Do not accept briibe.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

toshiko, They fabricated stories to criticize Abe, hardly neutral.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

@tina: Nothing about fabricated Abe stories. “Hodo Station” and Cose up Gendai programs are in question. How they operate. and LDP criticizes these programs are one sided. These shows are discussion shows and LDP accuse them one sided. The guest comment contrinbuters either dismissed or declined to participate in discussions.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Black Sabbath

Thanks for the reminder. Japan has sunk to 61st in this, but you may be confusing some people with the facts. https://index.rsf.org/#!/ (World Press Freedom Index)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

toshiko, You don't live in Japan and watch those programs. Please read the Japanese articles to see what Japanese are saying. There is broadcasting law which stipulates that programs must be neutral. Those progams are sided with China. They staged "Yarase", a setup.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@tina; I watched the show when I visited Japan in Winter, The LDP wants these two talk shows to be in its side. Broadecasting law?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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