Japan falls far on press freedom list


Japan plummeted to 53rd from the previous year’s 22nd in the 2013 press freedom ranking released Wednesday by Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based nonprofit organization.

Japan “has been affected by a lack of transparency and almost zero respect for access to information on subjects directly or indirectly related to Fukushima,” the group said in a statement, referring to the nuclear catastrophe. “This sharp fall should sound an alarm,” it added.

Mali logged the sharpest fall for the year, to 99th from 25th, following a military coup in 2012 and after Islamist militants seized the north of the country, leading to French intervention.

The media were exposed to censorship and violence, the group said.

By contrast, Myanmar rose from 169th to 151st, reflecting progress in its democratization, and Afghanistan climbed from 150th to 128th.

The top three were Finland, the Netherlands and Norway. Eritrea, North Korea, Turkmenistan and Syria remained the worst.

  • sidewalker

    Beyond the intentional censorship, the self censorship by the press and also the Japanese public creates a stagnant civic discourse at a time when we need to challenge those in positions of authority who are making decisions that further empower and enrich themselves.

  • Ron NJ

    Nevermind that the “press club” here excludes foreigners – quite the hypocritical twist with Edano & the PM during Fukushima telling foreign media to respond “correctly and accurately” when, by definition, all their information had to come second- or third-hand as a matter of policy.
    The “fall to 53rd” just shows you how incorrect the previous rating was to begin with, and calls the entire ratings system into doubt. Nothing fundamentally changed, just a 30+ point error was somewhat corrected.

  • Would love to see a Japan Times editorial on this. I guess we won’t see it if the censorship is ongoing…