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週刊新潮「誤報」 第三者調査で徹底検証せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Apr. 17, 2009)
Weekly magazine needs better standards
週刊新潮「誤報」 第三者調査で徹底検証せよ(4月17日付・読売社説)

Shukan Shincho, the weekly magazine that carried a series of articles in the form of first-person accounts from a man who claimed to have attacked reporters at The Asahi Shimbun's Hanshin Bureau in 1987, has published an article explaining how the magazine gathered materials for the articles, which have been found to be false.
In an article in the latest issue, which came out Thursday, the magazine appeared to be playing the victim, implying it was duped by the man. An explanation such as this is a far cry from being a thorough investigation of the matter.
 まるでだまされた被害者と言わんばかりの内容では、到底、検証記事とは言えまい。
 朝日新聞阪神支局襲撃事件などの「実行犯」と称する男の手記を載せた週刊新潮が、16日発売号で取材経緯を説明する記事を掲載した。

After the series of articles was published, the man denied he was responsible for the fatal shooting when he was interviewed by another weekly magazine.
 手記掲載後、男は別の週刊誌などの取材に対し、自分が実行犯であることを否定していた。

As a matter of course, Shukan Shincho then had to admit the man's account was false and apologize for the articles. But Shinchosha Publishing Co., which puts out the weekly magazine, should not leave the matter solely with the editorial staff of the magazine. The publisher should thoroughly examine the cause and background of the misreporting through an investigative panel that includes third-party members and find exactly where responsibility lies.
 誤報を認め、謝罪したのは当然だが、発行元の新潮社は、編集部任せではなく、第三者を交えた調査委員会で原因と背景を徹底検証し、責任を明確にすべきだ。

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Confirmation lax

In the apology, the weekly magazine cited the failure to gather sufficient evidence to support the man's account as the reason why it ended up running false reports. This certainly seems to be the case. It also appears that much could have been verified with just a little bit of time and effort on such matters as where and how the man lived at the time of the incident.
 今回の新潮記事では、誤報の原因として「裏付け取材の不足」を挙げている。その通りだろう。事件当時、男がどこでどんな生活をしていたのかなど、少しの手間で確認できたはずのことも多い。

Particular caution is needed when someone approaches a media organization in an attempt to sell information. It is likely that the weekly's slackness in its principal task of confirming information resulted in its swallowing of the man's false story.
 特に、今回のように自ら情報を売り込んでくる相手には注意を要する。基本的な確認作業を怠った安易な姿勢が、虚偽情報の鵜呑(うの)みにつながったのではないか。

The treatment given by the weekly to the man, which can be described as excessive, also should not be overlooked.
 取材相手への過剰とも言える処遇も見過ごせない。

The man was given 900,000 yen in "manuscript expenses" as well as accommodation fees for three months. The weekly also shouldered a one-month advance payment for staying at an Internet cafe, which was necessary for the man to get a resident's registration, and helped the man find an apartment and obtain a passport.
 計90万円の「原稿料」に加え、3か月分の宿泊費、住民登録するためのネットカフェへの前払い金1か月分を負担し、アパート探しや旅券取得も手伝っていた。

Such cushy treatment could cause informants to tailor their stories for reporters by misrepresenting facts. This point should be investigated as well.
 行き過ぎた便宜供与は、情報提供者が取材者に迎合し、情報をねじ曲げる危険性をはらんでいる。こうした点も検証すべきだ。

===

Explanation came too late

Also, the weekly has been too slow in providing a full account of the series of articles.
 取材経緯の説明も遅すぎた。

The articles were carried over four consecutive weeks beginning from late January.
 問題の手記は、1月末から4週連続で掲載された。

Soon after the final installment was published, the Asahi carried a story on factual errors in the Shukan Shincho articles following a complaint by a former employee at the U.S. Embassy in Japan that the man had falsely said the employee asked him to attack the newspaper bureau.
 終了直後、「襲撃を依頼した」とされた元在日米国大使館職員の抗議を受けた。事実関係の誤りを指摘する朝日新聞の検証記事も出ていた。

The National Police Agency chief also in effect denied the credibility of the man's account.
警察庁長官も手記の信憑(しんぴょう)性を事実上否定していた。

Despite these developments, why did the weekly take so long to explain itself?
 にもかかわらず、なぜもっと早く説明しなかったのか。

While the weekly is known for having exposed scandals involving politicians, it also has been accused in a number of cases of infringing on people's rights or of defamation.
 週刊新潮は過去に政治家の不祥事などを暴く一方で、人権侵害や名誉棄損も引き起こしてきた。

In the latest article, the weekly argues that "weekly magazines have a mission to report in depth even 'events' and 'allegations' that have yet to be proved as truth." This kind of perception most likely caused the misreporting.
 今回の記事では、「週刊誌の使命は、真偽がはっきりしない段階にある『事象』や『疑惑』にまで踏み込んで報道することにある」としている。こういう認識こそ、誤報の背景ではないか。

Recently, a series of court rulings have been made regarding slack reporting for articles in weekly magazines and have ordered publishers to pay huge amounts in compensation.
 最近、週刊誌記事に対し、取材のずさんさを指摘し、高額賠償を命じる判決が相次いでいる。

Shukan Shincho has lost several such court cases. In one of the cases, a district court ordered the president of the publisher to pay compensation, saying the president failed to effectively provide training for editors and establish systems to check articles before publication. The publisher must address these structural problems.
 週刊新潮も敗訴が続く。1審判決とはいえ、「社内研修や記事チェック体制を整えていなかった」として、社長個人が賠償命令を受けた例もある。こうした体質を改めていかねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 17, 2009)
(2009年4月17日01時51分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2009-04-17 09:31 | 英字新聞

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