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Feb. 13, 2014, 9:30 a.m.
LINK: thediplomat.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   February 13, 2014

One significant difference between the American news ecosystem and many of its counterparts around the world is the much smaller role played by state-funded media. NPR and PBS are a drop in the bucket compared to the U.K.’s BBC, Canada’s CBC, or Australia’s ABC.

nhk-logoOne other major outlet that doesn’t get as much attention here is Japan’s NHK, and my friend Henry Laurence writes about what appears to be a worrying shift there away from journalistic independence:

The Imperial Japanese army’s system of sexual slavery during World War Two was not wrong judged by the standards of the time. At least not according to the new chairman of NHK, Japan’s giant public broadcaster.

Katsuto Momii, recently appointed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, set off a firestorm last week with remarks dismissing the forcible rape of twenty thousand Asian “comfort women” as morally no worse than the red light district in modern Amsterdam. He described demands to compensate surviving victims as “puzzling.”

Momii then announced his belief that NHK’s foreign news coverage should support government policy on controversial issues such as the Senkaku/Diaoyu island dispute with China…

The last thing Asia needs is an echo chamber for Japanese nationalism, but that’s where NHK may be heading under Katsuto Momii. The consequences could be disastrous.

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