The Tokyo High Court has ordered Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) to pay 1 million yen (around $9,800) to a Taiwanese woman who suffered emotional damage when a program continually used a derogatory term to refer to one of her relatives. However, the court rejected damage claims from other plaintiffs who also filed a lawsuit and claimed they were also affected by the incident.
NHK aired a program in 2009 “Asia no Ittokoku” (A first-class country in Asia), which looked at the Japanese colonization of Taiwan from 1895-1945. One of the segments showed that some men and women who were members of the aboriginal population of Paiwan were taken to an exhibition in London in 1910 as an “exotic” exhibit, a very common practice for Westerners at that time. The broadcaster continually used term “Ningen-Dobutsuen” (Human zoo) which the plaintiffs claimed was derogatory and that the program itself was biased, therefore violating their duty of producing impartial programming.
Presiding Judge Noriaki Sudo ruled that the use of the term defamed the descendants of the Paiwan people and that the program produced “uncomfortable feelings” among Taiwanese and Paiwan people. However, he said that it did not violate viewers’ rights and so rejected the 41 other plaintiffs. “…a critical report should be respected sufficiently in light of freedom of expression, which is guaranteed under the Constitution, and freedom of the press.” But for the Taiwanese woman who was related to one of the men that was featured on the program, the effect was different. “It used the word repeatedly in the program without giving consideration to the racial discriminatory implications of the word,” the judge said. The NHK public relations division said they will still be examining the ruling before deciding how to act on the issue.
[ via NineMSN ]