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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 October 21 - 27  > Prime Minister’s Office constantly monitors TV news programs
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2020 October 21 - 27 [POLITICS]

Prime Minister’s Office constantly monitors TV news programs

October 22, 2020

Akahata, through information disclosure requests, has obtained a copy of transcriptions which the Cabinet Office made from TV news programs, including news variety shows. These documents were supposedly produced with the intent of the Prime Minister’s Office to place TV stations under constant surveillance and take actions if they broadcast programs unfavorable to the government.

The Akahata-obtained transcript numbering some 700 pages is a record of 11 news programs aired daily in the first half of March. Among them, programs in which cabinet ministers and/or Dietmembers of the ruling parties debated with opposition party representatives were targeted for careful monitoring by the Prime Minister’s Office. All the statements made in these programs, such as voice-overs and announcer’s comments, were reproduced in print.

Iwasaki Sadaaki of the Media Research Institute pointed out, “The PM Office took detailed records of what political commentators and newscasters said on specific TV news shows. If they had known about this, they would have thought that they were being put under government surveillance.” He continued to say, “There is no evidence that the government took actions based on these records. However, constant monitoring of TV programs represents the government eagerness for media control.”

Prime Minister Suga during the administration led by his predecessor Abe took a leading role in thorough press management as the Chief Cabinet Secretary. He exerted his influence in particular over TV networks and, for example, forced newscasters critical of the government to resign from their programs. The greatest concern now is that under the Suga administration, the constant government monitoring of TV programs will be strengthened.

Past related article:
> PM Suga’s media control infringes on people’s right to know [October 5, 2020]
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