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Japan considers scrapping its fairness doctrine for broadcasters

Holding broadcasts and online streams to same standards will not help public, critics say

The NHK Broadcasting Center in Tokyo. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

TOKYO -- The Japanese government is weighing an end to requirements for fair and factual reporting as it drafts shared standards for traditional and online broadcasters, a development many worry could lead to increased bias.

To close the regulatory gap between the two media, a government panel will propose scrapping the Broadcast Act's Article 4. That provision requires broadcasters to ensure that their programming does not harm public safety, is politically fair and does not distort the facts. Online outlets are under no such strictures.

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