Staff writer

The Democratic Party of Japan said Tuesday it will attempt to better control its public image by checking and rating every article on the DPJ appearing in major newspapers.

The results will be regularly reported to a council of party executives, and the party’s public relations committee will warn DPJ lawmakers not to make statements that could be used by the media to convey a negative image of the party, said Hirofumi Hirano, chairman of the public relations committee.

He said the committee will classify articles into three categories: stories positively describing the DPJ; neutral ones that only record facts; and those portraying the DPJ negatively.

“I hope it will help control the activities and words of members of the party,” said Hirano.

He stressed that the purpose of the rating system is to raise awareness of party members, not to attempt to exert control over media reports on the party.

He admitted, however, that it may be difficult to distinguish between the subjective views of writers and the objective facts.

The DPJ’s public image has suffered a series of setbacks since last year due to incessant confrontations among intraparty groups over key policy issues.

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