Asahi Shimbun's third party Mass Media and Human Rights Conduct Committee announced on Thursday that they did not think reports from the news division on player bonuses in March illegally damaged the Yomiuri name.
The committee checked over the facts of the report and found them to true. Based on that:
- Since the report did not abuse the freedom of expression, there was no illegal damage to anyone's name.
- Contracts are a concern for pro yakyu fans so there was enough reason to publicly release information on bonuses that went beyond normal levels. As such, there was no illegal infringement on privacy.
- Journalism ethics and standards were not compromised for the report or for the collection of data.
Asahi Shimbun's third party Mass Media and Human Rights Conduct Committee is currently made up of Yasuo Hasebe (University of Tokyo, Faculty of Law), Hiroshi Fujita (former vice chairman of the editorial board at Kyodo News), and Koji Miyakawa (former Supreme Court Justice and a former lawyer).
Four deliberations were held by the committee before formulating their final opinion. The Yomiuri Giants and Asahi Shimbun were also questioned.
The Giants are unhappy with the findings and plan on seeking damages through a lawsuit against Asahi Shimbun.
UPDATE 7/14 @ 10:25am - Yomiuri Giants' team chairman Tsuneo Watanabe's thoughts on Asahi Shimbun's third party Mass Media and Human Rights Conduct Committee announcement: "Evidence unfavorable to Asahi [Shimbun] was excluded and the result was an answer that defended Asahi's misinformed report. There is no choice but to say the Committee violated civil liberties by justifying the incorrect report. ... We will take this to the court and dispute this fairly. I promise that we will win this lawsuit." Source: Daily Sports 7/14/2012