Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Quickie

Bill Sakovich is unusually sober today, so it is worthwhile to check out his Ampotan post on Miyazaki Governor Higashikokubaru Hideo's suggestions to the press covering him how they all could better spend their time.

In the post Sakovich offers this trenchant reminder of why we have kisha clubs at all and why they are really bad for the Japanese people.

The kisha clubs are press clubs affiliated with every important governmental organization in the country. They originally served the worthwhile purpose of enabling reporters to act as a group to force the government to divulge information. The impetus for their formation was the government’s refusal in 1890 to allow reporters to cover the first session of the Diet.

Now, however, the clubs are more likely to stifle information than to facilitate its disclosure and distribution. Critics charge that club members merely regurgitate government press releases. Reporters cannot attend press conferences unless they are press club members, and this requires a considerable expense of time and effort. This hinders not only the access of foreign journalists to the news; it also limits the access of freelance journalists and reporters for trade journals in Japan.
Another decayed and anachronistic part of the postwar regime, perhaps? Mr. Prime Minister, your thoughts?

1 comment:

Jun Okumura said...

... which did not involve locking their collective lips on a certain three-letter word part of his anatomy? Interesting. Okay, I'll take a look...