Cover Story: Write and wrong The Asahi Shimbun
When coverage of the personal privacy law was expanded to private businesses on April 1, few could ascertain how the change would affect news reporters in their work.
After all, media organizations are supposed to be exempt from the new rules, which as of April 1 forbid passing personal information on to a third party.
Then came April 25, and the derailment of the train on the JR Takarazuka Line that killed 107 people.
Suddenly reporters found themselves facing a wall of silence.
Many hospitals refused to divulge the names of the dead and injured. Reporters explained their exemption from the privacy law, but many hospital officials were not convinced.
And many bereaved family members refused to answer questions, citing the privacy law as grounds, one network executive said.
''The reporters were asked how they got their addresses and telephone numbers,'' the executive said. ''They were accused of breaking the law.''
All this despite the fact that the law specifically stated it was never intended to interfere with freedom of expression.