New York Times, Jan. 31, 2014: [...] there was the abrupt resignation of [NHK's] president accused by governing party politicians of allowing an overly liberal tone to news coverage. [Thursday a] longtime commentator on economic affairs angrily announced that he had resigned after being told not to criticize nuclear power [...] On Friday, [new NHK head] Mr. Momii was summoned by a parliamentary committee [...] [there's] deep suspicion shared by many in the opposition that Mr. Abe’s governing Liberal Democratic Party is stocking NHK’s governing board with political appointees who will stifle criticism of his conservative government’s agenda [like] restarting idled nuclear power plants [...] The broadcaster has also faced widespread public distrust for coverage of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident that was later criticized for meekly complying with government efforts to cover up the extent of radiation releases. [...] Masayuki Matsumoto, suddenly announced in December that he would step down [as chairman] [...] major news media at the time said he was driven out by criticism from the Abe administration that he had let NHK become too critical in its coverage of nuclear energy [...] Jun Hori, a popular NHK television news announcer, quit last year after he was questioned by superiors for more than six hours about a documentary that he had made describing nuclear accidents in the United States.
Jun Hori, former NHK news announcer, Jan. 31, 2014: “NHK is scared of being criticized as antinuclear [...] NHK has become a place where it is hard to speak out against authority. This is unhealthy for democracy.”
Yasushi Kawasaki, former NHK political reporter that teaches journalism at Sugiyama Jogakuen University, Jan. 31, 2014: “This is gross political interference [...] The Abe government has stocked NHK’s Board of Governors with friendly faces in order to neuter its coverage.”
Kazuhiro Haraguchi, lawmaker, Jan. 31, 2014: “What I am worried about is that NHK will become loyalist media, become the public relations department of the government.”
See also: NHK broadcaster quits in protest over nuclear issues -- Professor censored after 20 years on air -- Was to reveal 'extraordinarily high' damages -- Newly installed NHK chief 'enthusiastic' to help spread gov't messages to audience
And: "Shock & Outrage": Japan TV host reveals being told he cannot discuss nuclear power until pivotal Tokyo election ends -- "Somebody needs to bring these issues into the media" -- #2 in trending news
Published: January 31st, 2014 at 6:48 pm ET