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Censorship Your Rights Online

Japan Seeking to Govern Top News Web Sites 146

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hey-slashdot-jp-what-does-this-mean dept.
RemyBR writes "A Japanese government panel is proposing to govern "influential, widely read news-related sites as newspapers and broadcasting are now regulated." The panel, set up by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, said Internet service providers (ISPs) should be answerable for breaches of vaguer "minimum regulations" to guard against "illegal and harmful content." The conservative government, led by the Liberal Democratic Party, or LDP, is seeking to have the new laws passed by Parliament in 2010."
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Japan Seeking to Govern Top News Web Sites

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  • Japanese media Unhappy today 1984
    • Re:Can't resist... (Score:5, Informative)

      by SL Baur (19540) <steve@xemacs.org> on Saturday March 01, 2008 @02:24PM (#22611040) Homepage Journal
      The LDP are on their way out. They got their butts kicked in the last election and lost the upper house. They haven't been able to sustain a majority of their own in 10 years and have enlisted the help of the Soka Gakkai[1], pardon me I mean the New Komeito Party.

      The LDP have had a total monopoly on Japanese politics since WWII. It would be most amusing for this to pass, the to-be-regulated web sites "move" out of Japanese jurisdiction and life goes on as before. Japanese always ignore warning signs[2] when noone is looking, so I wouldn't expect this to amount to much no matter what.

      [1] Soka Gakkai and IKEDA Daisuke are to Japan what the Church of Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard are to the US. My source? I was unhappily married to one.

      [2] I have a really cool digital photo of the highway bus terminal in Tsukuba. There
      s a sea of bicycles completely burying a sign in back which reads "no bicycle parking here".
      • by sumdumass (711423)
        Even if they moved outside of their control, they would need ways to gather information inside their control or face becoming irrelevant. It would be these reporters and local offices that they could control.
      • by Goaway (82658) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @04:51PM (#22611798) Homepage
        Well don't leave us hanging here! Were you married to L. Ron Hubbard, or Ikeda Daisuke?
  • well, at least they aren't hoping to create a new internet... just severely limit the current one. The sad thing is, I could see this plan working with the pressure on ISPs.
    • by rfc11fan (922027)
      So maybe we'll have to return to the use of radio and fax to share the truth with Japan.
  • Never fails (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tkrotchko (124118) * on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:49PM (#22610568) Homepage
    Governments, no matter how benign, really hate unfettered access to information.

    The most discouraging part is a majority of people seem to agree ("...well, as long as it's to fight the terrorist...").

    The most predictable part is someone will say "...this isn't about free speech".

    A truism: "When somebody says 'this isn't about free speech', it almost certainly is".
    • by causality (777677)

      A truism: "When somebody says 'this isn't about free speech', it almost certainly is".

      Yes, usually what they really mean is "don't let those pesky human rights concerns get in the way of what I want to accomplish." For some reason, we put up with people like that. It's rather pathetic really.
    • This is not a new thing related to terrorists. Japanese newspapers have been heavily regulated since after World War II, mostly to supress overly nationalistic editorials (or, during the Cold War, Communist).
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by KPU (118762)
        Because controlling the press is the best way to prevent an authoritarian government?
    • No, the most predictable thing on Slashdot is posters who don't read the articles and who parrot the most popular opinion.

      The article doesn't mention anything resembling terrorism as the reason. What the article discusses in some detail is that the Japanese ruling political party, the LDP, has ruled the country virtually unchallenged for decades. The slightest bit of thought shows that the LDP has achieved almost every single goal of what the most progressive Democrats are advocating in the United States:
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Carbon016 (1129067)
        That constitutional ban (actually, the entire constitution) was not achieved by the LDP. In fact, the LDP did not even exist at the time the constitution was written. It was achieved by General MacArthur as SCAP during the occupation. The Diet simply copied his suggestion with some very basic changes and voters approved it.

        The LDP has ended up creating a "capitalist development state" that thrives on neo-fascistic cooperation between government and corporate entities, dominate the government largely through
    • "When somebody says 'this isn't about free speech', it almost certainly is".

      "Well, what sort of chance does that give me??? Alright then! It IS about free speech."

      "!!!SEE!!! It *IS* about free spech!!!"

      (with apologies to Monty Python)
  • Putin-like (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:55PM (#22610594) Journal

    "Soon after the war we followed the U.S. model with the government issuing licenses through the FCC," Hizumi said. "As one party, the LDP, came to dominate politics, it sought more control of the media so the FCC was abolished. There is no ombudsman here, so the government controls the media directly.

    It sounds like a Putin-style media. Free-press is getting harder to find in the world.

    • Re:Putin-like (Score:5, Insightful)

      by webmaster404 (1148909) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @02:33PM (#22611086)

      It sounds like a Putin-style media. Free-press is getting harder to find in the world.


      No its much easier. With the Internet its very very easy to find free press. /. is a good example, Wikileaks is another. CNN and Fox news aren't exactly much "free-press" and if this is "top news sites" that is probobly exactly what the Japanese government seeks to regulate the CNNs and Fox news of Japan not the /. and Wikileaks although they are probably next. So no, free press isn't hard to find, it is much easier then 50 years ago, you no longer need a printing press and paper just a 'net connection and a computer to report.
  • strange... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superflytnt (105865) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @12:56PM (#22610600)
    "The conservative government, led by the Liberal Democratic Party"

    There's something a little odd about that name, don't you think?
    • Re:strange... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by causality (777677) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @01:04PM (#22610652)

      "The conservative government, led by the Liberal Democratic Party"

      There's something a little odd about that name, don't you think?

      Sounds like the USA to me. "Liberal" and "Conservative", yet no matter which is elected the government expands in size and power. Clever, isn't it? That there might be no real difference between them is a fact about which we are more honest when it comes to other countries, apparently.
      • by Scrameustache (459504) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @02:04PM (#22610924) Homepage Journal

        "The conservative government, led by the Liberal Democratic Party"

        There's something a little odd about that name, don't you think?
        Sounds like the USA to me. "Liberal" and "Conservative", yet no matter which is elected the government expands in size and power. Clever, isn't it? That there might be no real difference between them is a fact about which we are more honest when it comes to other countries, apparently.


        Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos!
      • The difference between 'liberal' and 'conservative' is much like salt and pepper. The flavor is tremendously different and use to flavor different things... But they are still seasonings and still used on a lot of the same food because they do the same thing - add flavor. Democrats and Republicans are very similar in that they ARE the government. There is an extreme conflict of interest between the government itself and the people's interests. Both want to expand government, but for different reasons.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Derosian (943622)
        Don't blame me I'm voting for Ron Paul in the primaries!
      • Sounds like the USA to me. "Liberal" and "Conservative", yet no matter which is elected the government expands in size and power.

        Generally, it most screwed up when both the Executive Branch (President), and the Legislative Branch (Congress) are controlled by the same party. If Bush had had a Democrat controlled Congress, things might not be so screwed up. Now that we have a Democratic controlled Congress...a Democrat president will screw things up just as bad, but maybe in a different direction.

        There is
    • Next you're going to tell us there's something wrong with Democratic People's Republic of Korea, too.
      • by Wowsers (1151731)

        Next you're going to tell us there's something wrong with Democratic People's Republic of Korea, too.
        Well for a start, their title is wrong :o
    • Uhm, it is the Japanese, 'nuff said.
    • "The conservative government, led by the Liberal Democratic Party"

      There's something a little odd about that name, don't you think?

      Not really.

      American conventions of liberal Democrats vs. conservative Republicans is simply an *American* labeling of political affiliations. And even then it's just a function of our current time period

      To give you a domestic example of this being switched, remember those crazy "Radical Republicans" of the late 1850's, early 1860's that has the "Radical" notion that blacks were human beings too?

      Or to show you how foreign countries don't use the same nomenclature, there's the National Democratic P [wikipedia.org]

      • > Or to show you how foreign countries don't use the same nomenclature, there's the
        > National Democratic Party of Germany which is "viewed by its opponents and the
        > mainstream media as a de facto neo-Nazi organization".

            Then there was the National Socialist German Workers Party. No xenophobes, they even accepted a former Austrian corporal as their leader. And the rest was history.
    • by KiloByte (825081)
      Don't worry, in Poland one of our major parties is "Law and Justice [wikipedia.org]", a Christian-fundamentalist party that makes Dubya look like a good boy scout. One of main parts of their platform is "eradicating corruption", and I think you can guess how well they fare. The name obliges, after all.
    • by Korveck (1145695)
      Literal meanings of party names in Asia quite often do not represent their true ideologies. Most of them just put democratic/liberal in their names just to sound good, or whatever.
    • Re:strange... (Score:5, Informative)

      by STrinity (723872) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @01:41PM (#22610838) Homepage

      "The conservative government, led by the Liberal Democratic Party"

      There's something a little odd about that name, don't you think?


      Only if you assume that American political terminology is standard for the rest of the world.
       
      In most places "liberal" is equivalent to what Americans call "libertarian," and the parties Americans call "liberal' are known as "labor" or "left".
      • Re:strange... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Samgilljoy (1147203) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @02:53PM (#22611172)

        Only if you assume that American political terminology is standard for the rest of the world.

        In most places "liberal" is equivalent to what Americans call "libertarian," and the parties Americans call "liberal' are known as "labor" or "left".

        Just want to second that. Here in the U.S., conservatives have labored since the 60's at least to redefine the term "liberal" for their own benefit. They achieved success in late 70's/early 80's. At this point, few people know any meaning for the term other than what the political class uses. Still, everyone is pretty far away from Latin liberalis at this point. I wonder whether the concept behind that term will ever be strong enough again to merit a word that unambiguously denotes it.

        "Liberal" in U.S. political discourse is the result of an extremely successful and masterful propaganda/marketing campaign. I despise the result, but damn, you have to admire such conceptual and linguistic control of the masses.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by DrLang21 (900992)
          Don't forget that Evangelical Christians labored since the 70s to redefine the term "conservative" for their own benefit. They achieved success rather quickly with Jerry Falwell uniting the evangelical christians to hi-jack the Republican party. Now the term "conservative" more closely defines a set of social control principles that force everyone to act like the Calvinists. It has little to nothing to do with conservation of traditional governmental practice.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vidarh (309115)
        In Europe at least "liberal" parties are usually centrist or at least closer to the political centre than the conservative parties. It's pretty rare for a party with "liberal" in the name to be considered conservative here, though not that unusual for them to be considered right wing.
      • Re:strange... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by meringuoid (568297) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @04:45PM (#22611756)
        In most places "liberal" is equivalent to what Americans call "libertarian," and the parties Americans call "liberal' are known as "labor" or "left".

        Actually, what Americans call 'liberal' we call 'moderate Conservative'. What we call left-wing, Americans call pinko Commie traitors.

      • Indeed, here in Australia the conservative party is called the Liberal party and the 'liberal' party is called the Labor party.

        To make things worse the current Labor PM calls himself a fiscal conservative, the greens call themselves conservationists, and the conservatives claim to support liberal democracy.

        Reconciling this confusing terminology is simple. They ALL claim to support UHC, therefore they must ALL be commies. /sarcasm
    • Re:strange... (Score:5, Informative)

      by J0nne (924579) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @02:03PM (#22610922)
      "Liberal" means something completely different outside of the US.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by flyneye (84093)
      Truthfully here Democrats and Republicans are cut from the same powerhungry, force-your-dictatorial-philosophy cloth in spite of the differences in the lies they extrude through your enemy and mine,the Press.
      Makes you wonder: A.if Japan has the equivalent of a Libertarian party.
      B. why we haven
    • by soundhack (179543)
      Not really, in that People's Republic of China and Democratic People's Republic of Korea are neither.
    • by sumdumass (711423)
      Not really. Liberal and conservative is more of a local thing then an international one. Some people like to relate on an international level which places things like the liberal democrats on the conservative side. But inside the country, they are probably more liberal then some of the parties, more specifically the ones in power when they came about.
    • Oh, I'm so glad I'm not the only slashdotter who noticed that! However, it's probably no more odd than the name of the party that ruled Mexico for so many decades: the Party of Institutionalized Revolution. I always wondered how it could be both institutionalized and revolutionary, but AFAICT, nobody South of the Border found anything strange about it.
    • Conservatism = Wisdom Libertarianism = Freedom They are not in conflict. What is in conflict is all the fiction surrounding them. Labels divide and are used to disempower and destroy unity.
  • In Minitrue we trust (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
  • What this means (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dattaway (3088) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @01:03PM (#22610644) Homepage Journal
    We are allowed to make fun of other people, but not companies or government officials.
  • and with Japan as technologically savvy as it is there would be small underground pulp newspapers, pirate radio off shore on fishing boats & etc...
  • but this is just silly...
  • by etymxris (121288) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @01:33PM (#22610792)
    See 2ch.net:

    There are numerous civil actions against Hiroyuki by individuals and corporations for slander and defamation. Hiroyuki so far ignored every court order and has never shown up for any trial and he has lost every civil case brought against him by default. Hiroyuki does not hold any sizable asset in Japan and any financial gain by Hiroyuki (bar what the court rule as necessary living expense) is subject to foreclosure. 2channel's assets are all held overseas; the servers are located in California and the domains are owned by a United States registrar. Moreover, technically, Hiroyuki does not own 2channel. None of the winners of civil action collected any money from Hiroyuki.

    In January 2007, a small court in Japan, making a judgement on yet another slander case, announced that 2channel's holding company was bankrupt and it would be repossessed. This claim was openly mocked by Hiroyuki on 2channel's splash page, and nothing of the sort happened, although 2channel's Japanese ISP ended its operations.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2ch#Free_speech [wikipedia.org]
    Basically, any website that doesn't want government regulation will just relocate its servers to the U.S. Due to the differing laws, they will not be able to subpoena IP logs or have any way of getting at the people that post to the site. The owner of the site may have some trouble if he continues living in Japan, but there will probably be ex patriots in the U.S. willing to "own" the site to avoid such trouble.
  • A government not liking their people talking about and attempting to hold crooked politicians to account (whatever country). What a surprise, not!
  • Yes, we need to maintain the fictions and popular story that a few benefit from to the detriment of the many. It is vital that the general population does not become to aware because this would disrupt all systems founded and based on popular ignorance.

    The last thing we need is a open source subscriber based intelligence service where importance is determined collectively, and the discourse and content results from collaboration of minds not behold to any special interests but in the interests of our coll

    • Actually the power you're referring to is not collective at all. It is individual at its source because singular people are making the choice to determine what media is superior. Collective power is what you see when individual power is denied, like the government restriction and conventional advertising you refer to.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by causality (777677)
        Indeed. I wish people would figure out that what's good for the individual is good for the collective. If not, the collective is fatally flawed and needs to be disregarded or disposed of.

        Having said that, I don't really believe in a "collective" in the political sense (although I am without doubt that there is such a thing in the natural and spiritual sense). You can speak of it as though it were a real thing, but it's not. It's more of a construct, an illusion; it's something that politicians find v
        • I don't really believe in a "collective" in the political sense Then what is good for the individual is good for the individual, not good for the "collective." I agree with you that it's a construct, but you used the term first and I felt obligated to stay within that term instead of causing unwanted confusion. I really liked the last paragraph, though. Very Discordian.
          • by causality (777677)

            I don't really believe in a "collective" in the political sense Then what is good for the individual is good for the individual, not good for the "collective." I agree with you that it's a construct, but you used the term first and I felt obligated to stay within that term instead of causing unwanted confusion. I really liked the last paragraph, though. Very Discordian.

            What I was saying is that a group (be it a nation, etc) of free, empowered individuals who are subjects of no one, with the right to do an

        • Yes the collective depends on the free radical, the eccentric, the rule breaker, the outcast for it's survival, discovery, invention and evolution.

          This is why individual freedom of expression is never suppressed it would be detrimental to the collective.

          A good example is China it has created an environment that blocks innovation conditioning everyone to be the same and forcing types of behavior. It has failed to fully implement collectivism by giving every individual a vote.

          As such it needs to copy t

        • by Dirtside (91468)

          You wonder why the world is in such turmoil right now?

          Anyone who wonders this is ignorant of history; the world has been in such "turmoil" since the beginning of recorded history. There have been small pockets of relative peace and prosperity in one place or another over time, but the general history of the world is one of war, oppression, and chaos.

          That's not to say we couldn't construct a society that is generally peaceful -- the fact that there hasn't been military action in as populated an area as the

          • by causality (777677)

            You wonder why the world is in such turmoil right now?

            Anyone who wonders this is ignorant of history; the world has been in such "turmoil" since the beginning of recorded history. There have been small pockets of relative peace and prosperity in one place or another over time, but the general history of the world is one of war, oppression, and chaos.

            This is where a single word becomes a stumbling block and you get caught up on that one word and so miss the entire meaning of what I was saying. Just be

            • by Dirtside (91468)
              *sigh* What you said (among other things) was:

              You wonder why the world is in such turmoil right now?

              ...implying that the world is in more turmoil now than in the past. Which is not true, which is what I pointed out. I was saying nothing about the rest of your post. It looks like you fell over the same "stumbling block" you seem to enjoy ranting about everyone else making. As if you're the only person here who has the ability to think critically? Do you really think ad hominem attacks make you more righ

      • The sum of individual choice is the collective choice.
  • I guess we know what japan's priorities are.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      I guess we know what japan's priorities are.
      Uhh... you didn't know what they were before?
      Japanese culture has always been wildly different from that of 'the west'.

      It's just odd that you'd call them nazis for censoring, but not for fining & caning citizens and foreigners alike into compliance with some very strict laws.
  • This is true globalization, if japanese news gets hosted in countries such as the US to avoid government oversight while American music/movies/porn gets hosted in countries like Japan to avoid the RIAA/MPAA/etc.

  • Consider this. Mass media IS regulated. You cannot print WHATEVER you want in Washington Post or NYT. You cannot say WHATEVER you want on radio. You cannot show WHATEVER you want on television. There is FCC. There are rules that papers, tv and radio stations must go by.

    Now, if some website is circulating news with similar audience, would not it be fair to traditional media to apply the same rules to non-traditional competitors of the traditional media? Internet has matured, dudes and dudettes, and became a
    • Consider this. Mass media IS regulated. You cannot print WHATEVER you want in Washington Post or NYT. You cannot say WHATEVER you want on radio. You cannot show WHATEVER you want on television. There is FCC. There are rules that papers, tv and radio stations must go by.

      Now, if some website is circulating news with similar audience, would not it be fair to traditional media to apply the same rules to non-traditional competitors of the traditional media? Internet has matured, dudes and dudettes, and became

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Murrquan (1161441)
        There is an argument that broadcast media must be regulated, seeing as how it takes place over public airwaves. I don't see how that applies to printed media or the Internet, though.
        • There is an argument that broadcast media must be regulated, seeing as how it takes place over public airwaves. I don't see how that applies to printed media or the Internet, though.

          I've never bought the argument that broadcast media must be regulated because it uses public airwaves. If I take a soapbox to the local public park, stand on it, and talk in a loud voice about how I don't like the mayor's policies, and think the city council should do a better job of overseeing the city's Public Works depart

  • by Kuukai (865890) on Saturday March 01, 2008 @06:08PM (#22612242) Journal
    They scream bloody murder [debito.org] about how implementing a human rights treaty they signed over a decade ago [japantimes.co.jp] will stiffle free speech, but it's fine if they do it. Bigotry is okay, but we can't have any "illegal and harmful content."
  • Facism much? :-/
  • What is the definition of a "news site"?

    For example, if I have a personal site on my home machine, and I put up pictures and a few stories from our recent vacation, does that make my site a news site?

    Will I be regulated as a news organization if I let the world know what members of my family (including the cockatiels and the conure) have been doing recently?

    There are good historic reasons to worry about such things ...

  • The only difference between this and what's going on in America is that Japan are doing it in the open . You think the main news corps in America aren't censored? You've got to be kidding me. I'd bet you'd all be spitting and writhing if Japan announced any law even a tenth of how ridiculous the Patriot Act is, you bunch of hypocrites.

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