An independent panel promoting ethical standards in broadcasting criticized the government and ruling party of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday for exercising pressure on NHK over possible fraud in a documentary about scams involving religious organizations.
“The government should not be allowed to intervene in content of individual programs,” the Broadcasting Ethics & Program Improvement Organization (BPO) said in a statement. It also criticized NHK for having excessively dramatized the documentary last year.
It is rare for the BPO, launched by NHK and private broadcasters in 2003 to improve the quality of TV programs, to criticize the government and ruling party.
Ethics in TV programs should be pursued “with self-discipline of broadcasters and their voluntary review through the BPO,” the statement said.
In April, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issued a reprimand of NHK after the public broadcaster staged an interview in the current-affairs program “Close-up Gendai” in May 2014.
The Liberal Democratic Party also summoned an NHK executive in April to pose questions about the program.
The BPO said such moves are “extremely regrettable” and “nothing but pressure” on broadcasters.
The organization also criticized NHK, saying the program in question had “excessively deviated from the limits of staging allowed for news programs” and seriously breached broadcasting ethics.
An investigation panel of NHK has concluded there was no fabrication in the program.
The BPO said the panel’s conclusion is “distant from the general sense of viewers” and makes the problem appear less important than it is.
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