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U.N. rights expert shows concern on independence of Japan media

  • June 5, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 10:27 p.m.
  • English Press

Berlin, June 5 (Jiji Press)–U.N. special rapporteur David Kaye has compiled a report expressing concern over the independence of Japanese media organizations, informed sources said Wednesday.

The report claims that Japan has not followed advice that Kaye gave in 2017, such as removing Article 4 of the broadcasting law, which stipulates the political neutrality of broadcasts, and reforming the so-called “kisha-club” system, under which only closed groups of media organizations inside government agencies can gain access to information, according to the sources.

The Japanese government strongly disputed the report.

“It’s very regrettable. It’s unacceptable because it contains many things that are inaccurate and unsourced,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference in Tokyo.

The report will be submitted to a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council starting on June 24.

Kaye said in the report that the independence of media organizations in Japan is undermined by regulations stipulated in the broadcast law, according to the sources.

He cited reported “public pushback from government officials against the work of critical journalists,” seen in actions by the government side in response to “questions posed by a journalist at government press conferences.” The report stopped short of naming the reporter or the media organization that the reporter belongs to.

The advice in 2017 was for the Japanese government and media organizations in Japan to complete 14 items, such as abolishing Article 4 of the broadcasting law and expanding the membership of kisha clubs.

In the latest report, none of the items were assessed by Kaye as completely implemented, but were either “not implemented” or “partially implemented,” according to the sources.

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