Differences in Broadcast and Publishing Content Regulation in the US and Japan

Every country has its own set of laws and regulations, depending on how it is applicable to its people. It is usually patterned to suit the needs of the people and the current situations that the country is in. So in comparing two different countries, it is possible to find that one is stricter than the other, or has a broader scope than that of the other country. Comparing the broadcast and publication rules in Japan and the United States of America, it is natural to see significant differences in the implementation and the content of the regulations themselves, since they are being applied to two different countries and different people.

Comparatively, the United States of America have stricter rules and regulations when it comes to broadcast and publishing content. Defining these regulations, it pertains to the intervention of the state in issues regarding economic, social or cultural life according to the standards being set in the country. These issues may be induced by political figures, religious intervention, or by the movement of the people regarding a certain concern. This is usually done to regulate the circulation of certain issues which authorities deem to be “offensive” content or that it is destructive in nature.

When it comes to broadcasting, the most basic form of regulation is through acquiring a license to be able to broadcast. This serves as permission, as well as a contract that the broadcaster should abide by the rules and regulations set for the country. With this, they are able to broadcast for a certain period of time they are allowed to do so, and that they are liable to follow the regulations strictly, unless they want to be penalized for not following the guidelines in the country. Japan’s Broadcast Regulations Rules are not that extensive as that of the United States.

They have no clear regulation on the contents of the broadcast, rather has concentrated more on the technicalities of broadcasting itself. It doesn’t regulate television shows on its contents as long as it doesn’t violate the rules of broadcast it has laid down. The content of their shows would then depend on the demand of its audiences rather than following a tailored broadcast format. Having the United States in the tighter end, there has been several issue concerning whether them being so strict that it hinders the people’s freedom of the press.

Media practitioners said that the basis of these intense broadcast regulations is the assumption that radio and television channels are a scarce resource which needs to be managed and regulated, so that the people will receive the right amount of information that they need (McDowell, 1983). What these media practitioners stress is that we are in a world where there are unlimited sources of information available today. Information is packaged in different forms and can be accessed by anyone.

This information are not radio and television-broadcast limited, since they can be accessed through the internet, through Wi-Fi, Wi-Max, High Definition Radio models, smart antennas and more. Broadcast is not that scarce, considering that you could access them through a number of choices. In the United States, it is also difficult to acquire a license, which is done in order to censor broadcasting. But because of the abundance of other sources of information, broadcasting through television or radio is gaining lesser and lesser attention from the audience (Bowie, 2007).

This is because the broadcast format in the radio and television is so audience-specific and that what they show the people are limited in context. Because of that, people are moving to other means of acquiring information. On the other hand, Japan offers regulations which are less strict, compared to that of the United States. They are more into what the viewers’ want, since they are competing with various information sources which are abundant in Japan. Being a country rich in technology, radio or television is just another option for the people to get information (BookMice.net, 2000).

Everyone has a mobile device with them which can access the internet anytime, anywhere in the country. With that, imposing strict rules would mean losing market for both the television and radio broadcast media. Japan has a public broadcasting station, which is the NHK. This public broadcasting station is not influenced by the government or any private organizations that would benefit from it. It is kept alive by the Japanese people themselves, wherein it has sought independence from the government by having a Receiving Fee System.

This is where people pay for the station so that it will be kept running without further influences from prominent people and well-known organizations. This is to keep the interests of the people, for the people alone, and not by an individual or group wishing to profit from it. The viewers themselves are required to pay not only to view a specific program in the station but for the whole station as well, so that the NHK is assured to continue its existence. Every household in Japan who owns a TV set is required to pay an equal amount in for the NHK to continue its services.

But this assures of an unbiased source of information for the people, wherein they wouldn’t worry from censorship imposed by the government or anyone who would want to profit with the information being delivered by the station (Kogawa, 1988). There are also other commercial broadcasters aside from the public broadcasting network, and these commercial networks benefit from advertisements. On the other hand, NHK are not allowed to have any commercials. Publishing content in the United States is also regulated. There are several known fictional children’s stories which have been censored upon entering the shores of the United States.

One good example is the Little Red Riding Hood, wherein it has been censored and edited because the original version shows Little Red Riding Hood bringing wine to give to her sick grandmother (CyberCollege. com, 1996). The latest manifestation of censorship in books and publications was in the Harry Potter series. The novel has been the subject of censorship and criticisms since it promotes witchcraft for kids. This, despite the fact that the series has invited a lot of kids to start reading books again, not just relying on television and computers as a source of recreation.

On the other hand, Japan is more on the open-minded side, wherein publishers are can put in publications mainly anything they can, unless they violate the laws and regulations that have been set for them. There are several forms of publication in Japan wherein it gives people a lot of choices. They are free to publish and it depends on the people whether they would buy it or not, since it is indicated if the content is not for minor, or that it has graphic situations not for the young audience.

When looking up-close at these two countries, we could see that the United States of America have stricter rules and regulations when it comes to publication and broadcasting. This is because of the difference in their audiences and their cultural background. Japan is more open when it comes to informing the people, since it has abundance in technology. But this doesn’t mean that both countries don’t consider their audiences when they put these regulations and restrictions. Because of the difference in their audience, their approaches are also different, thus resulting to various rules and regulations being established.

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