BPO放送倫理検証委員会の政治化に関する考察BPO放送倫理検証委員会の政治化に関する考察AN00134966 Considering Political Leaning of the Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization's Committee for the Investigation of Broadcasting Ethics and Its Political Implications
This study considers the current situation of the “public sphere,” in which people can enjoy freedom of expression in Japan, through examining the activities of the Committee for the Investigation of Broadcasting Ethics, BPO (Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization), an independent organization for the self-regulation of broadcasters in Japan. The author indicates the political leanings of the committee and argues that its activities have potential risks to curtail the freedom of broadcasting in Japan. The author examines how the BPO's committee as a major actor in the public sphere understands the meaning of freedom of expression, and how it uses the term to keep the government from intervening in the broadcasters’ free exercise of the right to broadcast. The broadcasters in Japan cooperated to establish the committee in 2007 to foil the attempts by the then-cabinet to strengthen the regulations against the broadcasters. This was prompted by a major scandal, when it was publicly revealed that a broadcaster had aired a program containing fabricated data concerning dieting. Although the broadcasters succeeded in getting the bill withdrawn at that time, today the politicians of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), a major ruling party, are said to be putting more pressure on broadcasters. As a champion of broadcasting freedom, the committee criticizes such pressure from politicians, citing the articles of the Broadcast Act, but its argument is not necessarily convincing. Its argument is based on the minor interpretation of the law and runs counter to the predominant interpretations by jurists. Arguments without solid basis may induce the criticism that the committee is not impartial to and independent of the broadcasters, and does not function properly as an independent self-regulator; this possibly leads to the discussion that raises the question of whether the broadcasters should be regulated by a governmental organization.