Community Advocates Accuse TV News Program Of Slanting Report On
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 15, 2004
TOKYO, JAPAN--Members of a national advocacy group have filed a formal complaint against TV Asahi over a news segment they claim unfairly criticized a government plan to move people with intellectual disabilities out of institutions and into homes in the community.
Inclusion Japan, which is also known as the Japanese Association for People with Intellectual Disabilities, demanded the network review a 13-minute segment which aired during the February 24 edition of the current affairs program "News Station". That segment focused on the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry's recent decision to transfer between 150 and 200 residents out of the national NozominoSono care facility in Takasaki, and into group homes in their home towns by March 2008.
The ministry made the decision to downsize the 500-bed institution because the facility has higher staff costs and lower quality of care than community-based services.
In a media statement, Inclusion Japan, whose 300,000 members are primarily parents of people with intellectual disabilities, said that the television piece featured interviews with facility nurses and relatives of institution residents who opposed the ministry's decision, without providing the viewpoints of those who agree with the plan.
Inclusion Japan members noted that, while there are not enough group homes available at this time, the government plans to establish them before the 2008 target date.
"The program gave the impression that the transfer was being carried out against the wishes of some of those concerned, and it painted daily life in the area's group facilities in a negative light," the statement read.
"This could encourage prejudice against the intellectually disabled."
Saturday's Yomiuri Shimbun included a partial response by a TV Asahi spokesperson, saying that the News Station segment did point out that "a fundamental overhaul of facilities was needed" for the transfers to be successful.
"We didn't intend to condemn the transfer policy itself," the spokesperson said.
"TV Asahi accused of discriminating disabled" (Mainichi Daily News)