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Newspaper, TV bodies in Japan vow discrimination-free coverage of coronavirus

  • May 22, 2020
  • , The Japan News , 3:07 p.m.
  • English Press

Bodies representing Japan’s newspapers and commercial broadcasters jointly declared on Thursday that they will provide coverage free of discrimination and prejudice against people infected with the new coronavirus or against medical workers exposed to higher risks of the virus.


The Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association and the Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association (JBA) issued a joint statement, saying, “We will endeavor to report the characteristics of the virus in an understandable way, and cover and report the news in a moderate manner to avoid sensationalism.”


The both associations have set up a joint working group in response to requests from the government’s expert council members, as well as from Kyoto University Prof. Shinya Yamanaka and other experts who urged the associations to consider measures to prevent discrimination and prejudice against medical professionals. The working group has exchanged opinions with 11 experts.


The statement said there have been a number of cases in which the privacy of infected people has been violated on the internet. It also referred to cases in which medical workers responsible for treating the virus, and their families, have been subjected to cruel comments. The statement also stated cases in which childcare centers have refused to let them use the service.


The associations noted that if such discrimination and prejudice continue, there is a risk that medical workers may quit their jobs, contributing to a potential medical collapse.


They confirmed that they would do their utmost to report the news in a way that eliminates discrimination and prejudice.


“We will be even more aware of our role as a news organization so that we can restore a society where people can live in peace, properly grasping the danger of the disease and engendering a sense of caring for other people,” it said.


The statement also asked medical service workers to provide information quickly about cases such as infections acquired in hospitals in a bid to alleviate the public’s concerns.

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