The Liberal Democratic Party might think about further media training for its number 2 man, Shigeru Ishiba. During a press conference on Wednesday, he hinted to the media that they will be affected by the newly passed controversial state secrets protection law but afterwards took back his statement. Earlier this month he was also caught in a faux pas when he referred to the protestors of the bill as “terrorists.”
He told the Japan National Press Club that “based on conventional wisdom,” the news gathering activities of certain media entities will be affected by the new law which seeks to impose stricter punishments on individuals who will be caught leaking information designated as “state secrets.” He admitted not being thoroughly familiar with the workings of the secrecy law but believes one of its purposes is to restrict media activities if it threatens national security. However, later on at the LDP headquarters, Ishiba told reporters that he would like to retract his earlier statement, clarifying that journalists will not be covered by the law.
Masako Mori, the state minister in charge of the secrecy law, told the Diet before that those involved in normal news-gathering activities will not be affected by this legislation. The vagueness of the wording of the law is one of the constant criticisms against it, as people fear it will violate the people’s right to know and press freedom. Those who will be found guilty of leaking sensitive information concerning diplomacy, defense, counterterrorism and counterespionage can face up to 10 years in prison while those who “instigate” the leak can receive a maximum sentence of 5 years.
[ via Mainichi ]