State threatens greater broadcast control

NHK criticized for bowing to political censorship pressure

TOKYO -- A Communications Ministry advisory body is urging the government to monitor the contents of TV and radio programming when it licenses commercial broadcasters, raising the specter of increased state control.

The body, led by a University of Tokyo law professor, is critical of the increase in TV shopping programs and recommends the ministry examines broadcasts more thoroughly when renewing licenses every five years.

Satellite channels are already subject to such rules and the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters has voiced concerns about state censorship.

Pubcaster NHK has been criticized in the past for allegedly bowing to political pressure over contents.