“Writers, Journalists Calling for Free Speech”
Oriza Hirata, Hajime Imai, Shigeaki Koga, Mad Amano & Kei Nakazawa
Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 15:00 - 16:00
Some 1200 writers, journalists and others issued a declaration on February 9 to protest against the "self-restraint" widely practiced by media organizations during and after the Japanese government's handling of the recent hostage crisis involving freelance journalists Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto.
"We make a personal pledge to never hesitate about what we write, speak, draw or otherwise create. . . Societal pressure has extended even to the level of attempts at controlling how elected National Diet members question government policy. This level of control of public discourse is deeply worrying for our democratic society in Japan, " the declaration read.
One of the signatories, ex-METI bureaucrat Shigeaki Koga, came under severe attack by the government and the public for criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's handling of the hostage situation. He said he, along with the producer of a television program, was pulled because of his critical comments.
Koga and others will present their declaration to the foreign media and explain the pressure under which Japanese writers and journalists are now placed due to the shocking murders of two Japanese nationals by Islamic State. Joining Koga are playwright and director Oriza Hirata, journalist Hajime Imai, as well as caricaturist "Mad" Amano, and writer Kei Nakazawa.