Japanese government: Freedom of speech OK but ‘should be based on facts’

Today’s MediaWireWorld roundup of journalism news from outside the U.S. Send tips to Kristen Hare: khare@poynter.org

Japan

Big Comic Spirits magazine got a complaint from the Japanese government for publishing a comic showing a character with frequent nosebleeds after visiting the Fukushima power plant, Adario Strange reported for Mashable on Tuesday.

Despite outcry from the Japanese government, the editor further defended his decision to publish the comic, writing, “We hope the various views on the latest ‘Oishinbo’ will lead to a constructive debate into assessing our future.”

The furor over the comic has swelled into big news in Japan over the last couple of weeks, prompting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to weigh in over the weekend.

“The government will make the best effort to take action against baseless rumors,” he said.

The complaints coincide with questions about tightening press freedoms in Japan, Strange wrote.

“There is freedom of speech and freedom of expression in Japan,” (Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide) Suga said. “But anything that is communicated should be based on facts and accurate information.”


Ukraine

Committee to Protect Journalists reported Monday that two journalists were being questioned in Ukraine and another five in Crimea.

On Sunday, Ukrainian soldiers in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, detained Russian journalist Oleg Sidyakin and cameraman Marat Saychenko, both with the pro-Kremlin news portal Life News, during a raid on armed separatists, news reports said. Sidyakin and Saychenko were accused of aiding armed separatists, who were also detained in the raid. The soldiers later handed the journalists over to the SBU, the Ukrainian national security service, in Kiev, where they are being interrogated, Valentin Nalivaychenko, head of SBU, said, according to news reports.

“We call on all sides in the conflict in Ukraine to respect journalists’ status as civilians and allow them to report freely,” said Muzaffar Suleymanov, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program researcher.

Taiwan

From the United Evening News, in Taipei, Taiwan, there’s a chance of rain today. Also military presence. (Frontpage courtesy the Newseum.)

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