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  • Tokyo 2020 Media Commission Could Prevent Journalistic Independence


    (ATR) Tokyo 2020 announced the establishment of its media commission on Friday.  

    Hisashi Hieda, chairman and CEO of Fuji Media group, one of Japan’s largest media conglomerates, will serve as chairman. The vice chairman is Satoshi Ishikawa, the adviser and former CEO of Kyodo News Agency, Japan’s national press agency.

    Yoshiro Mori and the Tokyo 2020 organizers may not be on the side of journalists. (Tokyo 2020/Shugo Takemi)
    There are 36 representatives from Japanese major newspapers and network TV stations, with a mix of executives and journalists. However, Japanese magazines are not part of the commission. The media commission's structure is similar to that of Japanese press clubs which exclude magazines from their ranks. 

    Yoshiro Mori, president of Tokyo 2020, said the organizing committee “relied on the decision of each media” for nominations.

    Toshiro Muto, secretary general for Tokyo 2020, added, “The aim of this committee is not to ask for detail but get broader perspective on the operation of Tokyo 2020. We asked to each media to recommend the person who has enough experience in the Olympic reporting or has deep perspectives with the Japanese media industry.”

    However, some journalists and watchdogs tell Around the Rings the committee could be used to subvert the media to Olympic organizers' will. 

    One veteran Japanese reporter said to ATR “the constitution of the media committee seems to be the controversial inner circle of Japanese media. I am afraid that this committee could prevent the Japanese media from effectively checking the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.”

    During the 1998 Nagano Olympics, Japanese media could not investigate the organizing committee thoroughly because there was a lack of independence from the organizing committee.

    Jun Oguro, a journalism professor at the prominent Doshisha University said to ATR, “I am afraid that the Japanese media might not be a watchdog for the Olympic Games and the organizing committee.”

    He added, “This system is the same as governmental council taking in Japanese media to avoid criticism.

    “Japanese media could lose its independence.”

    Written by Mitsuyasu Oda in Tokyo

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