Justice Minister Seiken Sugiura said Monday that a controversial provision on regulating media coverage in a human rights protection bill may be revised or deleted before submitting the once-killed bill to the Diet next year.
However, that is conditional on whether media organizations agree to create a body to deal with complaints stemming from their reporting.
“If the bill is to be submitted again to the Diet, it is not good to do so by freezing (the provision), and I want the bill to be submitted after revising or deleting the provision,” Sugiura said in a speech in Tokyo.
Sugiura added that the ruling coalition parties — the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito — would accept deleting the provision if media organizations create a complaint mechanism.
The bill, presented to the Diet in March 2002 but killed in fall 2003, proposed setting up a human rights committee as an external body of the Justice Ministry.
The committee was intended to help victims of such human rights violations as discrimination on grounds of race, gender or physical disability, abuses at welfare facilities and schools, and privacy violations or excessive coverage by the media.
Various media organizations opposed the bill, worried about possible infringements on the freedom of expression.
After the bill was killed in 2003, the government failed to submit it again to the Diet in 2004, 2005 and the regular session this year, partly because of disagreements within the LDP.
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