Several journalists gathered at the Nagatacho district in Tokyo to hold a protest action against the government-sponsored state secrets protection bill that is set to be passed by Japanese lawmakers. The legislation seeks to impose tougher penalties on those who will be convicted of leaking information that will be considered special secrets and journalists believe this will infringe on the public’s right to know.
Protesting in the area where the Prime Minister’s office, Diet and other government offices are located, the attendees were journalists from various fields including television, online news outlets, newspapers and magazines. Some of the more prominent personalities were Shuntaro Torigoe, Shigetada Kishii and actor Bunta Sugawara. They believe that this bill is potentially dangerous and can affect freedom of expression and the democratic principle of people having the right to know certain information that concern the public.
Tahara cited the fact that conspiring, and solicitation and agitation to obtain information will be subject to punishment as they are considered “extremely unjustifiable news gathering.” “The definition of what will be designated as secrets is not clear, and bureaucrats will make secrets extremely arbitrarily after all,” he added. What they are fearing is that journalists will be avoiding government sources for fear of being punished. Tahara also said that the seeming disinterest of the public over the passing of such a bill is alarming, because people think only the mass media will be affected. The journalists signed a petition that is calling on the Diet to scrap the bill and submitted it to the Cabinet Office.
[ via The Mainichi ]
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