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Online Journalist Barred from Japan's Diet Press Hall

Protesters in front of Diet on July 6, Friday

Protesters in front of Japan's National Diet on Friday July 6, 2012/image captured from ustream video by Ourplanet-TV

Every Friday, “No Nuke” protesters gather in front of the Japanese Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo. On July 6, 2012 video journalist Hajime Shiraishi, who heads the online Our Planet TV, observed that the best bird's-eye view of protesters could be obtained from the rooftop of Diet Press Hall across the street. However, she was denied access to film there because she is not a member of the official Press Club.

Shirashi is a well known journalist who has received awards from Japanese Women in Radio and Television, and the Japan Congress of Journalists. She considered it essential for Our Planet TV to capture the lively motions of citizens participating in historical demonstrations, and launched a court order proceeding to gain access to the rooftop. On July 27, the Tokyo High Court denied her request, and Ourplanet TV have appealed to the press hall management.

This Ourplanet TV video on Ustream shows Shirashi attempting to gain access to the Diet Press Hall rooftop on July 6.

Video streaming by Ustream

While the Prime Minister's Press Club claims to use the Diet Press Hall to uphold freedom of the press, it denies access to online news media and freelance journalists.

Many citizens have shown their discontent with the mainstream news organizations affiliated with the Press Club, feeling that not enough coverage has been given to the “No Nuke” demonstrations.

The historic Diet Press Club was established 120 years ago. However, Shiraishi thinks excluding Internet-based media and freelance journalists is interrupting free competition. She asks for the “State-owned building to be used fairly, for the sake of public's right to information.”

This post is a summary translation of a post from Ourplanet TV [ja] published under a Creative Commons License.

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