UN Council Discusses Media Independence in Japan

Written by BCCJ
June 13, 2017

Written by BCCJ
June 13, 2017

NHK World reports:

A UN expert on freedom of expression has urged Japan to enhance media independence by amending the law. The Japanese government has objected to his presentation.

UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye voiced the opinion in his speech at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 12 June 2017.

Kaye, a professor at the University of California, reported on the results of his surveys in Japan. He said that Japanese government officials can exert direct and indirect pressure on media and recommended the government revise part of the Broadcast Act to strengthen media independence.

He also noted that Japan’s press club system tends to downplay investigative journalism. He suggested the Japanese media play a bigger role in ensuring freedom of expression and the people’s right to know.

The Ambassador at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Geneva, Junichi Ihara, criticized Kaye’s report. He said it lacked an accurate understanding of Japanese government’s explanation and position.

Ihara stressed that the Japanese Constitution fully guarantees freedom of expression and the right to know.

Kaye also expressed concern in his report to the UN council about Japan’s state secrecy law and textbook screening.

Source: 13 June 2017, NHK World, https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170613_07/