Japan wants press reform

To a Canadian, where the government exerts increasing control on media and opposes transparency, this story seems like a tale from some fantasy opposite world: Japan’s government wants a tougher press.

“Japan’s new government is challenging one of the nation’s most powerful interest groups, the press clubs, a century-old, cartel-like arrangement in which reporters from major news media outlets are stationed inside government offices and enjoy close, constant access to officials,” reports the New York Times. “The system has long been criticized as antidemocratic by both foreign and Japanese analysts, who charge that it has produced a relatively spineless press that feels more accountable to its official sources than to the public. In their apparent reluctance to criticize the government, the critics say, the news media fail to serve as an effective check on authority.”