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Information Technology Policy and the Digital Divide

Lessons for Developing Countries

Edited by Mitsuhiro Kagami, Masatsugu Tsuji and Emanuele Giovannetti

The proliferation of new information technologies throughout the world has raised some important questions for policymakers as to how developing countries can benefit from their diffusion. This important volume compares the advantages and disadvantages of the IT revolution through detailed studies of a variety of developed and developing nations and regions: Argentina, Estonia, the EU, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand and the USA.
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Chapter 12: Is the Japanese Press a Dinosaur in the 21st Century?: The IT Revolution and Newspapers in Japan

Kojiro Shiraishi


Kojiro Shiraishi 1. INTRODUCTION After 20 months of research, the Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association (JNPEA) released a study on the future of newspapers in February 1998. The project was motivated by the uncertainty spreading through the Japanese media, a result of the explosive growth of the Internet, foreign media moguls’ entry into Japan,1 newly launched digital broadcasting services, rapidly developing technologies in editing and printing, and the shrinking ad market caused by Japan’s economic downturn. Some media critics liken the Japanese press to a dinosaur. These observers think highly of digital media, such as the Internet and satellite broadcasting. They often say that electronic newspapers distributed through the Internet, satellites or both will replace conventional ink-on-paper. They also point to ecological concerns, saying that newspaper publishing is eating up the world’s forests. The Association’s study, ‘Newspapers Take On The Digital Information Age: Can Journalism Survive?’ came to four main conclusions. First, that it is becoming more important for editors and publishers to make every effort to heighten the reliability of newspapers in the multimedia age. Second, that we should maintain the Resale Price Maintenance System2 in order to protect our public role as a medium of expression and reporting. Third, that we should try to aggressively take part in electronic and electric wave media that merge telecommunications and broadcasting services, and in which non-media enterprises are ready to participate. And finally, that we should unite to solve such imminent problems, instead of spending excessive time and energy...

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