New Japanese bill calls for revision of Broadcast Law

The Japanese government has released a package of bills including a revision to the Broadcast Law in a bid to respond to the rapidly changing environment surrounding communications and broadcasting. The bills, announced Tuesday for submission to the current Diet session, are aimed at realigning the eight laws concerning communications and broadcasting into four laws. The move marks the first drastic legal review of the sector in 60 years since the implementation of the Broadcast Law in 1950. The major overhaul comes as there is an increasing demand for services transcending the barrier between communications and broadcasting, such as distribution of TV programmes via the Internet. According to the measures, part of a ministerial order limiting investments in multiple broadcasters will be legislated, while the cap on investment ratio will be relaxed in consideration of local broadcasters that have been financially strapped due to a decline in advertisement revenues and the preparation for a shift to digital terrestrial broadcasting. A revision to the Broadcast Law stipulates in its appendix that regulations on cross-ownership in which a single principal dominates multiple media organs such as newspapers, TV broadcasters and radio stations will be reviewed within three years. Such regulations virtually limit newspaper companies investing in TV and radio stations even though a number of TV and radio broadcasters were inaugurated with financial backing from newspapers.


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