In what is considered a rare statement about a public issue, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ) officially protested the proposed bill that will impose stricter penalties on those that will reveal state secrets. The statement said this bill is a “threat to both journalism and to the democratic future of the Japanese nation.”
FCCJ President Lucy Birmingham said they are asking the members of the parliament to either reject the bill or ask for a substantial revision that will not make it a threat to the people’s right to know. The bill that is being pushed by the administration will give those who are found guilty of leaking “special secrets” up to 10 years in prison. The FCCJ’s statement says that the heart of investigative journalism is to let the public know about government activities that will affect their lives and that this should not be criminalized as it is part of the “checks-and-balances that go hand-in-hand with democracy.”
They add that the bill seems to be a “direct threat” to the media and that its provisions are too vague and is open to a lot of misinterpretation. Some government officials might also use this to prosecute journalists “as they please.” The FCCJ is made up of journalists who are citizens, residents and foreign correspondents. The government is hoping to have the bill pass by December 6, during the extraordinary Diet session, which will be in time for the planned launch of the National Security Council which will allow Japan to respond better to local and international security threats.
[ via Japan Subculture ]
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