Chiba Gov. Akiko Domoto, a former TV reporter, said Wednesday that the prefectural government needs a press club due to the need for speed and accuracy in media coverage.

“I have keenly realized both the merits and demerits of a press club,” said Domoto, a former Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc. reporter who won a number of awards in the 1980s for her coverage of the troubled day-care industry.

Press clubs — to which newspapers, news agencies and TV stations belong — have been often criticized for excluding foreign media companies and their cozy relationship with the administration.

The prefecture needs a communication channel to give accurate information to the media in emergencies, she said during a speech at the National Press Club in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward.

Domoto’s stance contrasts with Nagano Gov. Yasuo Tanaka, who has recently abolished the press club system in his prefectural government building.

But Domoto admitted press club members tend not to dig deep into press releases provided by the administration.

The press club system and its problems have changed little in 30 years, she added.

“I have asked reporters (at the prefecture’s press club) not to do things that go against the spirit of journalism.”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
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