Japan Ponders Creating Own FCC

BC/DC The media view from Washingtoncourtesy of D.C. bureau chief John Eggerton.

Representatives from NHK (Japan
Broadcasting Corp.) were in Washington
last week on a research trip
as the Japanese government ponders creating
its own FCC-type regulatory body.

Currently the Internal Affairs Ministry
oversees broadcasting and telecom (NHK is the country’s national broadcasting outlet,
supported by a tax on TVs).

Atsushi Shibata, a senior media analyst,
and a camera crew interviewed some
current and former FCC commissioners—
including current senior Republican
Commissioner Robert McDowell, former
Republican FCC Chairman Dick Wiley
and former Democratic Chairman Reed
Hundt—to assess the “merits and demerits”
of having an independent regulatory

“It is interesting that Japan is considering
its own version of the FCC,” Wiley
told B&C after his meeting. “I encouraged
them to consider an independent agency
like our own.”

According to a draft of questions
posed, the NHK appears to be interested
in how the FCC interacts with the judicial
system—particularly with respect to
a certain ongoing indecency case: “[The]
FCC’s rules or orders are not always final
and decisive. Broadcasting companies
often appeal to courts like CBS’ ‘wardrobe
malfunction’ case. Why is that?”