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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 April 7 - 13  > Japanese media protest against Tokyo organizers' controls on news reports about Olympics
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2021 April 7 - 13 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Japanese media protest against Tokyo organizers' controls on news reports about Olympics

April 7 & 9, 2021

The Japan P.E.N. Club, the Japan Federation of Publishing Workers' Unions (Shuppan Roren), and the Japan Mass Media Culture Information Workers’ Union Conference (MIC) are criticizing restrictions on the press imposed by the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics Organizing Committee for violating the rights to freedom of speech, the press, and expression.

The Organizing Committee demanded that the weekly magazine "Shukan Bunshun" suspend sales of the issue reporting on the opening ceremony of the Summer Games and delete the article from the online Shukan Bunshun. The Organizing Committee also demanded that the major daily Mainichi Shimbun apologize for and correct the article pertaining to consignment fees for managing Olympic venues in which the newspaper reported that the fees could be paid based on extravagant daily allowances.

The Japan P.E.N. in its statement released on April 6 said that it is only natural for mass media to cover, report, and point out problems concerning the real situation of the "national project" into which the government is pouring an enormous amount of tax money. The Japan P.E.N. pointed out, "The Organizing Committee's demands are an attempt to control the press and breaches the people's right to access information," saying that the Organizing Committee should retract its demands on the two media. The Japan P.E.N. added, "There are arguments for and against whether the Olympics should be held amid the pandemic. Therefore, it is a mission of the press to report the realities surrounding the holding of the Olympic Games."

The Shuppan Roren said that to cover the outline of the opening ceremony and to make it public are in the public interest. Noting that the Organizing Committee is hinting at filing a criminal complaint against the Shukan Bunshun article about the opening ceremony, the Shuppan Roren criticized the Committee for attempting to curtail news-gathering activities through intimidation.

The MIC said, "The imposition of restrictions on the press by the Organizing Committee is interfering with fair news-gathering activities of the media in their efforts to keep an eye on those with power and respond to the people's right to know." The MIC criticized the Organizing Committee for threatening the press by claiming Shukan Bunshun's article to be an obstruction of the Committee's duty and for stating that the Committee may consult with the police about it.
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