Japan Gov. Requests The Internet To Delete False Disaster Rumors

Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications(MIC) announced [J] that they had requested four Internet related organizations to delete “false rumors” on online bulletin boards “to keep safety and peace of mind in disastrous area”.
The four organizations are, Telecommunications Carriers Association(TCA), Telecom Services Association(TELESA) [J], Japan Internet Providers Association(JAIPA) and Japan Cable and Telecommunications Association(JCTA).
On the request [J, pdf], MIC stated, “false rumors around the Eastern Japan earthquake and the nuclear plant accident are circulated over word-of-mouth, e-mail and online bulletin boards”, and asked web site owners “to take voluntary action such like erasing information violating the laws and against public order and morals.” Interesting thing is that the request says “please take prompt countermeasures with due considerations to freedom of expression“. So they are at least aware what they are requesting.
There are, of course, immediate reactions on web. Some said that government is taking advantage of the disaster to gain control over the internet. But there are also opinions that Japanese government is so confused and too naive, unskilled on the Internet to expect that this kind of order will have any meanings. I feel that might be true, though it cannot be excused.

1 comment

  1. I’m not clear what a false rumour actually is.
    A rumour is just an unconfirmed piece of information being spread through word of mouth, or email, blogs and so in the modern world.
    It doesn’t stop being a rumour until it is confirmed as true or false by some independent evidence. Simply because the government declare something is false, it will not stop people believing it.

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