Previously, I cited a Kyodo News report that the Japanese government would begin encouraging people to use their real names when posting material on the Internet.
Now (via Adamu), Japan Media Review reports that Japanese bloggers have shown the initial Kyodo News report to be inaccurate in key respects:
Later Monday, however, an anonymous blogger who calls his Weblog a Diary of a Kasumigaseki Bureaucrat (Kasumigaseki is the Tokyo district where most government offices are located) took the trouble of leafing through the panel's draft report that had been published online earlier in the month and discovered that many of the Kyodo report's descriptions didn't match what the panel actually said in its report.Well, that's somewhat less creepy (even if Japan's plan to promote the use of Internet filtering software is apparently still in effect).
For instance, the blogger noticed that nowhere in the report did the panel actually advocate calling on people to use their real names in cyberspace, or to drop using screen handles. Rather, it outlined a more subtle argument. It noted that the prevalence of anonymity in Japan has led to an atmosphere in which many feel that it doesn't matter what they do or say in cyberspace so long as they are not caught. To that end, raising the credibility of the Internet in Japan will require an improvement of general public "morals" online. Consequently, the report said, "It is necessary to teach [children] how to interact naturally with each other in cyberspace, using either their real names or some kind of assumed name." Thus, he noted, the Ministry accepts anonymity, so long as it is practiced with good "morals."
JMR goes on to quote Nikkei BP columnist Hiroyuki Fujishiro's reaction to the Kyodo report's misrepresentations:
"What we learned this time," said Nikkei BP's Fujishiro, in response to questions from JMR, "was how irresponsible is the reporting of the existing media (newspaper and television). In addition, bloggers, who are usually critical of the existing media, believed the Kyodo report without even checking its sourcing and on that basis criticized the Ministry. This reveals the problem of media literacy among bloggers, but also the continuing large influence of the conventional media.So, as a blogger, I made the mistake of passing on a report from a leading Japanese news service without independently verifying its content. Point taken.
In the past, I've been aware that rumors flying around the blogosphere might actually be wild distortions of the truth. But it seems I was remiss in not applying the same level of healthy skepticism to actual wire reports.
Very well. From now on, Riding Sun readers are advised to bear in mind that any mainstream media articles cited here may not necessarily be accurate.