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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 November 25 - December 1  > PM Abe’s supporters call for suppression of free speech
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2015 November 25 - December 1 [POLITICS]

PM Abe’s supporters call for suppression of free speech

November 30, 2015
A group of supporters of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo placed a full-page advertisement in two major newspapers in mid-November to attack a newscaster who is critical of the enacted security legislation. This move is linked to the Abe government’s increasing pressure exerted on the media.

The group consists of seven people, including university professors, an economic analyst, and a musical composer. Three of them are initiators of a private organization which was formed in 2012 with the aim of recommending Abe as prime minister. The two papers are the Yomiuri and Sankei shimbuns, both backing the Abe administration’s right-wing policies. Usually, it takes about 10 million yen to buy a full page of advertising space in a national newspaper.

On September 16, the ruling parties railroaded the government-sponsored war legislation through the Upper House’s special committee. Following that, Kishii Shigetada, an anchorperson of TBS Television, said in his news program, “The media should continue to raise its voice in order to repeal this unconstitutional legislation.” The ad condemns his comment for violating the Broadcast Law which states that the media should be “impartial”.

Almost all opinion polls conducted over the past half year show that the number of people opposing the war legislation is more than that of those supporting the legislation and Kishii’s remark reflects this strong public opposition. Trying to silence media members criticizing government policies will lead to suppressing the freedom of the press. Above all, it goes against the spirit of the Broadcast Act to attempt to suppress the right to free speech using huge sums of money under the patronage of power.

Sophia University Professor Oto Yoshihiro, specializing in journalism, said, “The basic concept of the Broadcast Law is to enable independence from political power. These advertisers seem to be unaware of this fundamental idea.”

Past related article:
> TV watchdog official: It is broadcasting autonomy that defends democracy [November 17, 2015]
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