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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 November 6 - 12  > Foreign Correspondents’ Club calls for abolition of ‘secrets protection’ bill
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2013 November 6 - 12 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Foreign Correspondents’ Club calls for abolition of ‘secrets protection’ bill

November 12, 2013

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on November 11 issued a statement under the name of President Lucy Birmingham demanding that the Diet “reject the ‘Designated Secrets Bill’ in total”.

The statement expresses deep concern that provisions of the bill along with ruling bloc lawmakers’ remarks in regard to the bill indicate the potential of prosecution and imprisonment of journalists.

The statement points out that to uncover secrets about hidden activities of government and politicians and informing the public of such secrets is the very essence of investigative journalism. It stresses, “Such journalism is not a crime, but rather a crucial part of the checks-and-balances that go hand-in-hand with democracy.”

Nevertheless, the bill hints that the freedom of the press is “no longer a constitutional right, but merely something for which government officials must show ‘sufficient consideration’,” the statement states.

Criticizing the bill banning news gathering with the use of “inappropriate methods”, the statement states, “Such vague language could be, in effect, a license for government officials to prosecute journalists almost as they please.”

The statement urges the government to abolish the bill, or “to redraft it so substantially that it ceases to pose a threat to both journalism and to the democratic future of the Japanese nation.”

On the same day, eight well-known TV journalists at a press conference at the Nippon Press Center building said that the government should abandon the new legislation for secrets protection.

One of the eight journalists, Torigoe Shuntaro said, “I will do everything possible to get the bill scrapped.”
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