According to 'sources' at Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, around ten percent of the nation's private broadcasters are in breach of equity ownership rules.
The regulations, intended to curb monopolies and ensure freedom of speech, have been flouted by fifty of 521 privately-owned radio and TV companies. Many of these transgressions involved newspaper companies.
A ministerial ordinance, based on the Radio Law, decrees that a company or individual cannot own more than a ten percent voting stake in two or more land-based broadcasting stations in the same area.
The same law also forbids a stockholder with a stake of more than 10 percent in a broadcaster in one area from owning twenty percent or more of a broadcaster in a different area.
A kindly and understanding government has given the corporate miscreants four years grace to sell their excess stock.
At the end of 2008, there will be further share ownership inspections and companies failing to comply with the mandatory limits will be ineligible for renewal of their broadcast licenses.
Data sourced from Asahi Shimbun Online; additional content by WARC staff