「Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016」
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
a. Freedom of Speech and Press
Overall, an independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to promote freedom of speech and press. The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respected these freedoms.
During the year, however, several incidents gave rise to concerns about increasing government pressure against critical and independent media. In February, for example, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi reiterated, while denying any plan or intention to take such a step, the government’s right to shut down broadcasters that it determined were politically biased. The UN special rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression said, after a visit in April, “The independence of the press is facing serious threats.” He noted “weak legal protection, the … [new] … Specially Designated Secrets Act, and persistent government pressure” as well as the press club system as factors driving his analysis.
Censorship or Content Restrictions: Media expressed a wide variety of views without overt restriction. Nonetheless, members of the press, including major newspapers and broadcasters, privately voiced concerns that the government indirectly encouraged self-censorship practices within major media outlets. A Reporters Without Borders survey concluded that media self-censorship has risen in response to legal changes and government criticism. Some journalists, media analysts, and NGOs continued to criticize press (kisha) clubs as encouraging self-censorship and co-opting journalists. These clubs are formed in individual organizations, including ministries, and may block nonmembers from covering the organization.
(朝日新聞デジタル - 03月07日 11:40)