Japan’s media are under severe attack from the authorities and the public, with new laws which have the potential to regulate journalistic activities and tougher attitude by the courts on media coverage. This has come in the wake of an upsurge in public distrust of the media.
There has also been much criticism of the Kisha club (press club), system, which is said to be unique to Japan. Club membership is only open to journalists of major newspapers and TV stations, thus acting as a barrier for journalists working for magazines and foreign presses.
The author feels that the problem stems from the idealistic image of journalism and the disappointment when reality fails to meet that ideal. After all, press organizations are basically business corporations working for profits. Journalists working for the major media are normally hired as employees with stable positions in the life-time employment system.
Journalists and the media can be both diverse and uniform. While journalism is supposed to be independent from other organizations or individuals, it is always under the influence and pressure of outside powers. In relation to the outside world, the world of journalism is not static, but dynamic, and it is always filled with contradictions.
The author analyzes how journalism has had an impact on society, especially on the police administration in a 1999 group bullying and murder case in Tochigi Prefecture.
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Title of paper: Journalism in Power Relations and Pierre Bourdieu’s Concept of “Field”: A Case Study of the Coverage of the 1999 Group Bullying Murder Case in Tochigi Prefecture
Author: Takashi ITO
Takashi ITO was Associate Professor of the Institute For Media & Communications Research, Keio University, and is now Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Soka University.