Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the new Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, to ensure that Japan, 66th out of 180 in the RSF World Press Freedom Rankings when it was 22nd in 2012, once again shows the ‘example.
Yoshihide Suga , 71, a former Minister of Home Affairs and Communications, was appointed Prime Minister of Japan on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 following the resignation of his predecessor Shinzo Abe , of whom he was Secretary General of the Cabinet since 2012. Suga, often described as Abe’s right-hand man, bears his share of the blame in the climate of hostility towards journalists established by the previous government and the attempts to interfere with the media that have been blamed on him.
At a press conference in 2019, Suga publicly refused to answer questions from a Tokyo Shimbun reporter on the grounds that he was “not obligated” to do so, drawing the wrath of the media. Suga has also been involved in the drastic reduction , under the pretext of the Covid-19 pandemic, in the number of journalists invited to government press conferences.
“As the leader of Japan, a democratic country and the third largest economic power in the world, Yoshihide Suga now has the duty to defend press freedom and has everything to gain if his country becomes a model again in this field , insists Cédric Alviani. , director of the East Asia office of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which calls on the new Prime Minister to “ensure that all media have access to government press conferences and that any form of discrimination between journalists is prohibited ”.
Japan generally respects the principles of media freedom and pluralism, but journalists find it difficult to fully exercise their role of checks and balances against the weight of traditions and economic interests. On social networks, nationalist groups harass journalists who deal with subjects considered “embarrassing” for the image of the country, such as the nuclear disaster in Fukushima or the American military presence in Okinawa.
Copyright ©2016, Reporters Without Borders. Used with the permission of Reporters Without Borders(RSF), CS 90247 75083 Paris Cedex 02 https://rsf.org
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