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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 February 13 - 19  > Attack on press freedom reveals Abe regime's fascist nature
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2019 February 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

Attack on press freedom reveals Abe regime's fascist nature

February 14, 2019
The PR Office of the Prime Minister's Office last December informed Cabinet press club reporters of its intent to virtually bar a Tokyo Shimbun journalist from the government spokesperson's regular press briefing. This has now become a hot issue.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide at a Lower House committee meeting on February 12 justified this by saying that it was because "her questions were based on speculation".

The role of the press is to ascertain the facts and to report on those facts. This is why reporters gather information. Political news-gathering, in particular, is to pursue and expose things that the powers of the time want to hide from the general public. Through such reporting, media organizations serve the people's right to know, which is indispensable for a democratic society.

"Baseless questions or inaccurate questions are not news-gathering activities." If such a logic of rulers is permitted, they are fascists without a doubt and political reporting under their fascist regime is impossible.

It was late last year that the PM Office first admonished the Tokyo Shimbun reporter in question. Concerning the landfill work for the construction of a U.S. base in Henoko in Okinawa's Nago City, this reporter pointed out, "In the sea area around the landfill site, red dirt is spreading." The PM Office responded, "The use of the expression as if water pollution is spreading out is not appropriate."

However, ships carrying red soil were witnessed near the landfill site and aerial photos taken with unmanned aircraft also show muddy waters at the site. Still now, neither the Okinawa Defense Bureau nor the Defense Ministry have checked the landfill materials to see if the materials contain red soil.

The government has the responsibility for publishing facts. Forbidding "Is this true?" questions will dim Japan's future prospects of maintaining freedom of the press.

Past related article:
> Union protests Abe gov’t attempt to restrict journalists’ right to ask politically sensitive questions [February 7, 2019]
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