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Japanese report seeks media reform

Panel strives for broadcasting, telecom unification

TOKYO — A government advisory panel released a report Thursday calling for the unification of Japan’s broadcasting and telecommunications laws by 2010.

 The report, submitted to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, recognizes the government’s discretionary power to regulate media content, including that of the Internet, as well as broadcasting and other traditional media — a concession that may well stir opposition from content providers. At the same time, the report draws a line between public and private transmissions, with protection for the latter against third-party surveillance. 

 Based on the report, the Communications Ministry will form another advisory body in January to draft a report on the unification of broadcasting and telecoms regs.

After receiving that report in 2009, the Ministry plans to submit a bill to the Japanese parliament in 2010 that will end the current separation between broadcasting and telecom law.

Instead Japan will have one law for everything from infrastructure to platforms and content, in a layered regulatory structure. 

 The panel, convened in August 2006, has met 20 times to discuss regulatory reform.

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