As a result of its media-bashing session and growing public distrust of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to circumvent the Constitution, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party now finds itself struggling to pass security bills aimed at giving the Self-Defense Forces greater leeway overseas.

To minimize the impact on deliberations in the Diet, the LDP wasted little time Saturday announcing it had punished four lawmakers for blaming the media for the weak public support on the bills, and for calling to put financial pressure on media outlets that report critically on the issue.

The anti-media remarks were made at a meeting organized by Minoru Kihara, a 45-year-old member of the Lower House elected from the Kumamoto No. 1 district. He was sacked as head of the LDP's Youth Division and suspended from holding any other post for a year.