There has been a lot of buzz about how Fuji TV, following Tohokushinsha, has exceeded the 20% limit on foreign capital, but such restrictions are meaningless, to begin with.
This has existed since the era of only radio broadcasting. The limit was implemented so that foreign capital could not, through the acquisition of a large number of shares of key media platforms (TV and radio), influence the neutrality of broadcast content. More extremely, it was also meant to prevent foreign powers from using media to incite coup d’états.
However, in an era where internet distribution via such platforms as Netflix and YouTube is mainstream, TV and radio are no longer the key media platforms. Furthermore, some have been pointed out that, since the previous cabinet, the media has been appropriated by the government. Instead of being a Fourth Estate (that guards against runaway political power), the media’s top executives frequently dine, golf, and rub shoulders with the government. There are also rumors of intervention in programs featuring unfavorable content.
Previously, when the Rupert Murdoch-led News Corp. and Softbank tried to buy TV Asahi, this trump card was played and the acquisition was blocked.
In the early days of the internet, when Livedoor and Rakuten tried to buy a TV station, vested interests were prioritized. The frequencies used by TV stations are a common property of the people. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications allocates these frequencies on behalf of the people and this allocation should reflect the people’s will.
We should discuss how licensing should work in this age of diversity. To say, “It’s outrageous that they exceeded 20%” is far from a substantive discussion.
For viewers, the share of “set in use” time (time spent in front of the TV) taken by free internet TV is expanding.
Also, TV stations are listed on the stock exchange and shareholders around the world have the right to buy them. If that does not work, you can delist them. However, if you do so, I feel that biased coverage will only increase…
I’m also talking about this on Voicy. Check it out!