The media profile of a country, can be defined as that profile that gives or provides an instant guide to the history, economics as well as the political background of that particular country as well as its key institutions and territories (Allen, 2013). In other words it can also be defined as the brand image or the profile image that a particular country tries to portray about itself to the outside world. The purpose of this report is to shed light on the media profile of a country. The chosen country for the analysis is Japan. The report also tries to analyze the factors that affect the media as well as the international communication of a particular country. Lastly, the report concludes with an overall assessment of the media of Japan.
Demographic, political and economic profile of Japan
Japan, also called by the name of Nippon or Nihon, is an Asian island country with a total land area of around 378,000 km and a total population of more than 126 million people, which makes it the tenth most populated country of the world ("The Government of Japan - JapanGov", 2017). The characteristics of the population of Japan as per the Hofstede’s model of culture is as follows,
The country is a constitution headed by monarchy, wherein the Emperor holds very limited powers (Ward, 2015). The Legislative power of the country rests with the National Diet, whereas the Judicial Power is embodied in the Supreme Court and the sovereignty is held by the Japanese people (Ward, 2015). The population of the country can be segregated on the basis of the political system, as in the picture given below
The nation’s economy is very developed as well as market oriented. It is also considered the third largest country of the world in terms of nominal GDP and the fourth-largest country by means of purchasing power parity (PPP) ("The Government of Japan - JapanGov", 2017).It is also considered to be the world’s second largest country in terms of developed economy ("The Government of Japan - JapanGov", 2017). According to the International Monetary Fund, Japan’s per capita GDP was at $37,519, the 28th highest in the year 2014 ("The Government of Japan - JapanGov", 2017).
Media Profile of Japan
The communication media of Japan, is includes various television as well as radio networks and newspapers as well as magazines. The various television networks of the country were established for the most part, based on the major capital investments by the already present radio networks of the nation. There are 6 nationwide television networks in the country like NHK, Nippon Television Network System (NNS) and others (Moeran, & Skov, 2013). The country also boasts of some famous AM Radio stations like NHK Radio 1, Japan Radio Network and others (Moeran, & Skov, 2013). The famous FM Radio stations of the country includes NHK-FM, Japan FM Network and others (Moeran, & Skov, 2013). There are five types of Japanese-language daily newspapers (Moeran, & Skov, 2013). They include,
- Tabloid national
- Specialized national
- General circulation National
The national newspapers belonging to the category of General circulation, based in Tokyo or Osake, are the daily newspapers whose circulation is more than one million. The tabloid newspapers usually have evening editions only. Approximately, there are some 24,000 monthly as well as weekly magazines in the country ("The Government of Japan - JapanGov", 2017). Some of the most popular magazines are-
- Bungei Shunju
- Chuo Koron
Commuter rail is one of the major sources of commute in Japan. The private commute lines operate both buses as well as railways between the various train stations and have shopping centers as well as departmental stores around their large terminal stations. The prices for advertisements that are displayed at these stations vary with the style, duration, size as well as the amount of commute traffic that is expected at that place. The famous conglomerates of Japan are-
- Big 4 Zaibatsu
- Second tier zaibatsu
- Transitionary keiretsu
Economic Structure of the media
The broadcast media in Japan is highly regulated as well as careful not to offend the ruling political party. Reportedly, a very popular political satire was cancelled in 1954 because of the offence that it gave to the ruling political party. It was the first example of the freedom of opinion being suppressed ("Japan profile", 2017). Initially, the media was controlled by the Emperor as well as the ruling political parties and was even used by them for the purposes of propaganda in order to promote the views as well as the policies of their own parties ("Japan profile", 2017). However, the foreign influences as well as the establishment of the rule of democracy gradually lead to the policy of the freedom of the press that the country now experiences. Although, most of the national newspapers as well as the television channels and radio stations are still owned by the government as well as the governmental authorities still the media of Japan at the present moment is not as biased as it used to be when it was under the rule of the Emperor and the political parties. There are not as such major ownerships by the foreign media companies in the nation of Japan. According to an article, even some of the best newspapers of the world like The Guardian and The New York Times are finding it difficult to establish a strong footing in the country ("Japan profile", 2017). This can be alluded to the decreasing popularity of the English language in the country. According to the same article, all the major English newspapers of the country have reduced their productions because of the lesser number of the sales ("Japan profile", 2017).
Status of free media
Initially, the media of Japan was regulated by the Emperor as well as the various political parties. They were used as a matter of fact as mere mouth pieces by the various political parties. In the year 2014 a rule was passed wherein the Protection of Specially Designated Act, which was considered to be very restrictive, went into effect amid great opposition from international as well as local press freedom advocates and the Japanese public ("The Government of Japan - JapanGov", 2017). The act stated that the whistleblowers instrumental in leaking secrets related to state, can face up to 10 years of prison, whereas the journalists instrumental in publishing the leaked information can face prison for a term of atleast 5 years ("The Government of Japan - JapanGov", 2017). According to a report, the freedom of the media in Japan has been declining ever since the appointment of the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s in 2012 (Nakata, 2017). However, a change has been noticed after the establishment of the rule of democracy in the country. Although, there are still certain restrictions on things like nudity, political sarcasm and other features, yet a growing liberal view is noticed in the media in the way things are getting the permission from the censor boards to get printed or telecasted. English is not a very popular language in the country and many of the English newspapers in the country are reducing their the number of copies that they print everyday yet a common trend among that is noticed among the educated people of the country is their preference for the English newspapers like The Guardian and The New York Times ("The Government of Japan - JapanGov", 2017).
An overview of the media
According to a report, Japan was ranked at the 72nd position on a 2017 list of press freedom from all around the world (Nakata, 2017). The media of the country consists of various components like television, radio, printed newspapers, which again are of different types as well as the different media conglomerates. The media of the country is often considered to be very bias because of the influence of the Emperor as well as the various political parties. English is not a very popular language in the country and therefore, there is not much demand for the global newspapers like The Guardian, The New York Times and others ("The Government of Japan - JapanGov", 2017). However, a recent change in the scenario is seen wherein the newspapers are able to portray the different news with a certain degree of liberty from the various censor boards of the country. Therefore, it is safe to say that the future certainly looks bright for the media.
Therefore, from the above discussion it becomes apparent that the role that media plays in the growth and development of a nation and its ideas is very signification. The creation of an effective media profile is very important as the media profile is often seen as the brand image or the symbol of all that the country stands for. The freedom of press is very important as it helps in the establishment of the rule of democracy as well as the freedom of expression.
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Nakata, H. (2017). Japan stays 72nd on press freedom list but falls to last in G-7 | The Japan Times. The Japan Times. Retrieved 16 December 2017, from https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/04/27/national/japan-stays-72nd-world-press-freedom-list-last-g-7/#.WjTYdVWWbIU
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