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Court orders Fuji TV to pay damages over rape report+.

TOKYO, Feb. 27 Kyodo

The Tokyo High Court upheld Wednesday a lower court ruling ordering Fuji Television Network Inc. to pay 1 million yen in damages to a man over the broadcaster's coverage of a rape allegation made against him.

The Tokyo-based broadcaster argued in the high court that ''broadcasting did not damage (the man's) reputation because newspapers were repeatedly reporting that the man is the rapist.''

But Presiding Judge Yoshinori Ishikawa said, ''Given (the magnitude) of the impact of television, which feeds information to passive viewers, broadcasting did impair (the man's) reputation in society.''

According to the ruling, the man, then a member of a rugby team at Teikyo University in Tokyo, was arrested in January 1998 for allegedly raping a female acquaintance with some other team members at a karaoke booth in Tokyo in November 1997.

The woman, however, reached a negotiated settlement with the men involved and prosecutors subsequently dropped the case against him.

Fuji Television covered the case through its gossip shows, describing it as a ''group rape by the Teikyo University rugby team'' and disclosing the man's name and picture.

In September last year, the Tokyo District Court ordered Fuji Television to pay 1 million yen in damages. Fuji Television appealed the ruling.

The man and his family had sought 11 million yen in damages for libel.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Mar 4, 2002
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