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international media policy

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on 14 October 2015

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Transcript of international media policy

"The impact of media policies on ‘self-censorship’ and ‘political correctness’ in Japan and Singapore"
-In order of discussion-

- Simonne Avanes- I.D: 4232 1824
- Sarah Bluett - I.D: 42142032
- Bradley Lewer - I.D: 43709583

Self Regulation in Singapore
international media policy
censorship & political correctness

Media Policies on Self Censorship and Political Correctness
Reading 1
Censorship and the internet
Media Regulation and policies in japan overview
Japan’s Information and Communications Bureau, as a department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications

“Core Broadcasters”, have a max limit of 20% foreign ownership General Broadcasters have no limits

Only one owner may control one broadcasting station No restrictions on the number of corporations having limited ownership

Television media and Radio must be licenced Newspapers, online content, magazines, and mobile content does not require licencing

NHK, “Nippon Hoso Kyokai” It is run independently from government, similar to the ABC, as a statutory agency. It receives its funding from taxation.

Free television is all owned by Japanese corporations, while cable television can be foreign owned.

(Lawrence, Stewart and Manvell, 2012, p35)

Ranked 61 out of 180 countries, with a classification of “Noticeable Problems” in the Reporters without Borders 2015 World Press Freedom Index
Freedom House Freedom of the Press 2015, described a number of problems of media freedom in Japan, allocating it a score of 25. (0 is best, 100 is worst).

Japans media freedom rankings
Source: Reporters Without Borders, Freedom House

Japanese media regulatory environment
Japans Broadcast Law requires all regulated
broadcasters to ensure they:

1. Comply with national and public security,

2. Not promote ideas, opinions and beliefs
contrary to morals, and cultural values,

3. Maintain Impartiality,

4. Not distort facts,

5. Present a balanced, not one sided view.

(Lawrence, Stewart and Manvell, 2012, p36)

Legislation causing political
correctness and censorship
-New legislation passed in 2014:
“Protection of specially designated secrets act”.

-Special information can be classified top secret for up to 60 years

-Whistleblowers may face up to 10 years in jail

-Leaking by journalists may face up to 5 years in jail

-Defamation punishable by 3 years jail, 500,000 yen

-New barriers over access to freedom of information requests
What are the consequences of media policies, which do not maintain a free press?

(Lawrence, Stewart and Manvell, 2012, p36)

Political Correctness
Example 1: Cultural Hegemony and National Pride

The disaster impacted upon both Japanese and the world perception of Japan.

“Because Japan has long held a reputation for …advanced…scientific and technological achievements, the disaster at Fukushima was a particularly serious blow…” (Tollefson, 2014, p300)

This is an important cultural aspect to consider, as national pride is strong in Japan, a ethnically homogenous country.

Japanese media coverage of Fukushima-
“Daily Yomiuri”
Example 2: Media coverage maintaining political
correctness, over its responsibility to report the truth

-Daily Yomiuri has strong ties to the governing political party, the Liberal Democratic Party, similar to the relationship of the Daily Telegraph, Newscorp and the Liberal Party.

-Strong supporter of nuclear energy.

-Following the disaster, public dissatisfaction of government authorities and the nuclear industry forced pressure on the major newspaper to expose the failure of political action, government, and TEPCO (The corporation in control of the plant).

-Political correctness in this example, caused the newspaper to lose credibility, by failing to critically examine Fukushima.

(Tollefson, 2014, p302)

Following the disaster, in Japan and around the world,
many media publications resorted to ‘damage control’, to reassure the public, and whitewash the severity of the accident.

Some media, such as Alex Jones Infowars, and the guardian have covered the significant health risks of Fukushima.
What has been censored?
Both in Japan and around the world:
77,000 US Sailors assisted Japan with the cleanup. Many US sailors became critically ill following this, and launched a class action against TEPCO, the operator.

“The lawsuit alleges a number of the sailors and their children suffered thyroid and other cancers, leukaemia, birth defects, and a variety of medical conditions including infertility after they were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.”

Source: The Guardian. (Goldberg, 2014)

Health Risks and Exposure Censored
An investigation into the media coverage of
Fukushima, found that coverage in Japan and the world engaged in “disinformation”.

New York Times, and America’s National Public Radio claimed of “no health hazards”.

(Greene, 2012)

“…The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), has apparently been hiding for an entire year the fact that radioactive waste has been quietly pouring into the ocean from an onsite drainage ditch.”

(Onishi and Fackler, 2011)

Mayor of Namie, a small community near Fukushima, described the witholding of information about Fukushima by the government as “akin to murder”.
Current and former Japanese government officials, who have spoken out, described the government as “witholding damaging information and denying facts”, about the disaster.

(Onishi and Fackler, 2011)

Some of the reasons for censorship by the Japanese govt include:

-Limiting costly evacuations,
-Avoiding difficult questions or holding accountable the powerful nuclear industry,
-Downplaying the extent of the radiation, which has been reported as contaminating the food supplies,
-Minimising legal action against the government,
-Controlling public anger and opposition to nuclear power, and government accountability,
-Evading liability for the disaster.

(Onishi and Fackler, 2011)

"It is said that Singaporeans learn from a very early age what what is politically acceptable to say in public. If true, would you say that this self-censorship is taken by young journalists into news rooms in Singapore?"

Media policy in Singapore
-Media ownership & the regulatory environment defines the way the media operates in Singapore
- Control, both political and structural discourages an environment where opinions can be discussed freely
- Culture of self censorship - what does this mean?

Is this a form of political correctness?
Does anyone know the term used?
Current examples
Singaporean authorities shut down The Real Singapore news website - May 2015

Singaporean authorities on Sunday ordered an independent news website to be shut down, citing the website's content as being objectionable to state interests'


- Self censorship
- Regulation
- Does regulation amount to
- Does censorship lead to political correctness and
visa versa?

Beattie, Scott, 2014, 'Protect me from what I want: Censorship and internet classification,' Chapter 2, Community, Space and Online Censorship: Regulating Pornotopia, Surrey, England: Ashgate Publishing, pp.7-46

- Censorship in Australia
- Media censorship
- Censorship in the 20Th century- religion, books
- Self censorship

Reading 2
-Political Correctness-
Hughes, Geoffrey, 2011, Political correctedness: a history of semantics and culture, Chapter 2 titled 'The origins and the debate', John Wiley and Sons

- Political correctness
- Self censorship/relating to political correctness
- What does censorship do to creativity and freedom
of expression?
- Political correctness is often regarded as a threat to
freedom of speech
- Shakespeare- reading between the lines

Quote: "A circus dog jumps when the trainer cracks his whip, but a well trained dog is one that turns his somersault when there is no whip" George Orwell

Political correctness sketch: 3:23 mins
This is What "Political Correctness" Has Done to Our Society (Funny 1992 Sketch)
Singapore- The 'Intelligent Island'
- A huge percentage of the population has access to the web
- Technologically advanced
- Limited progression on a political platform
Blogger convicted of Contempt of Court
Alex Au Waipang wrote an article in 2013 suggesting a chief justice had manipulated court dates on a constitutional challenge to a law criminalizing gay sex between men
Soft Touch

What the Media Authority of Singapore says
Goldberg, S. (2014). US sailors prepare for fresh legal challenge over Fukushima radiation. The Guardian. [online] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/20/us-navy-sailors-legal-challenge-fukushima-radiation-tepco [Accessed 13 Oct. 2015].
Greene, G. (2012). Science with a skew: The nuclear power industry after Chernobyl and Fukushima. Asia-Pacific Journal, 10(1), p.3.

Kim, Y., Kim, M. and Kim, W. (2013). Effect of the Fukushima nuclear disaster on global public acceptance of nuclear energy. Energy Policy, 61, pp.822--828.

Lawrence, A., Stewart, A. and Manvell, A. (2012). Guide to Media and Content Regulation in Asia Pacific. Sydney: Baker and MacKenzie, pp.35-39.

Onishi, N. and Fackler, M. (2011). Japan Held Nuclear Data, Leaving Evacuees in Peril. The New York Times. [online] Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/09/world/asia/09japan.html?_r=2 [Accessed 13 Oct. 2015].

Tollefson, J. (2014). The discursive reproduction of technoscience and Japanese national identity in The Daily Yomiuri coverage of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Discourse \& Communication, 8(3), pp.299--317.
How should cultural and national policies be changed
to address censorship and political correctness by
government and media?
Full transcript