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TV watchdog says MX defamed civic group head with program on Okinawa

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo Metropolitan Television Broadcasting Corp. defamed a civic group representative through a variety program that dealt with news on anti-U.S. base protests in Okinawa, a broadcasting ethics organization said Thursday.

    A human rights panel of the Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization said "News Joshi (News Girls)," aired on Jan. 2 and 9 last year, infringed on the human rights of Shin Sugok, a joint representative of civic group Norikoenet against hate speech, and issued an admonishment against the broadcaster.

    It said the program indicated through commentators' remarks and use of subtitles that Shin was a "radical person" and the "mastermind" of the protest movement against a helipad construction at a U.S. military training area in the island prefecture and was paying 50,000 yen ($472) to each protestor daily, but "none of the points were proven" and "comprised defamation."

    While a unit of cosmetics maker DHC Corp. created the actual contents and MX TV was not involved in their planning or creation, BPO said the broadcaster had ethical issues in failing to check them.

    With regard to the program, BPO's ethics panel had said in December there was a serious violation of broadcasting ethics by MX TV for airing contents it had not properly checked.

    The broadcaster announced earlier this month it will stop airing the program as of the end of March. The program started in December 2015.


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