Amnesty International Japan has “serious concerns” over a set of bills the government says will protect human rights and personal information, saying they will be ineffective in preventing violations by authorities.
Amnesty on Friday criticized the plan for a human rights committee to be established as a Justice Ministry affiliate, saying, “The committee will be unable to monitor and improve human rights conditions at immigration and correctional facilities, which are under control of the ministry, if (the committee) is put under jurisdiction of the same ministry.”
Rights violations are often reported at immigration and correctional facilities, Amnesty said.
The organization said the bills place too much emphasis on human rights violations stemming from media coverage, which is likely to make news organizations shrink from aggressive reporting.
One of the bills is aimed protecting people from intrusive news coverage and privacy violations. It stipulates that certain news-gathering tactics are unlawful, inappropriate and violate human rights.
The bills have faced strong objections from opposition parties and news organizations, mainly on the grounds they would invite government intervention in media coverage, endangering freedom of expression and the people’s right to know.
In response to these objections, Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama suggested at a news conference Friday it would be possible to suspend the restriction clauses on the media.
Her comments followed remarks in the Diet on Thursday by Shuichi Yoshikai, director general of the ministry’s Civil Liberties Bureau, who said the government is willing to put on hold for a certain period clauses restricting the news media so the media can make “voluntary efforts” to protect people’s rights.
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