Friday, July 05, 2013

TBS Feels The Lash

Since the installation of the Abe Cabinet, most of the country's terrestrial broadcast networks have been noticeably chary of taking on the foibles of the government or the Liberal Democratic Party. If you are the national broadcaster NHK, keeping in tune with the government is a matter of life and death. If you are a commercial network, and your management is not in cahoots with the government (and most readers know exactly exactly which network that is), then keeping your head down is still smart.

The one network that has eschewed self-censorship since the change of governments is Tokyo Broadcasting System Television (TBS - Link - J). Broadcaster of the acerbic Asa Zuba! morning show (Link - J) hosted by the tireless and at times volcanic Mino Monta, TBS has not lowered the temperature of its news broadcasts since the advent of Abe II.

Well, it seems that the whip has come down.

In response to an evening news report of June 26 which committed the sin of suggesting that the ruling coalition alone was to blame for the death of important bills at the end of the regular Diet session (since it is up to the Prime Minister and the ruling coalition to decide whether or not to extend the Diet session so that a bill might be passed, t'is not an unreasonable insinuation) the LDP informed TBS yesterday that no member of the party's executive council will be allow himself or herself to be interviewed by the network. (Link - J)

Really? Threatening a break off of relations on the first official day of the election campaign season, more than a week after the supposed heinous broadcast? Are you that bloody defensive and/or thuggish?

TBS has so far not apologized for its broadcast, though it is in negotiations with the LDP on a restoration of normal media relations.

One could hope, and it is likely a fool's hope, given what has happened in the past to networks critical of the government (see footnote 9 here) that TBS holds its ground. In a fantastical Japan, TBS takes the LDP lockout as an opportunity to give the opposition unlimited air time (and perhaps some hints on presentation) to lash out at the ruling coalition.

Later - Who owns TBS?
Master Trust Bank of Japan (11.2%)
Mainichi Broacasting (4.1%)
Mitsui Sumitomo Bank (3.8%)
Mitsui Fudosan (3.7%)
Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (2.8%)
Bicc Camera (2.7%)
Kodansha (2.5%)
Panasonic (2.0%)
(Source - J)

1 comment:

Philippe said...

If <a href=">this report</a> in the Japan Times is to be believed, the LDP changed its stance, without an apology from TBS. Or did they? Maybe I missed something there. I'm more interested in listening to the sounds of the heavy rain.