Japan to politicians: no Twitter for you

The Japanese Government has imposed a ban on candidates using Twitter during the lead up to a general election in August.

The government deemed Twitter content to fall under the prohibited “literature and images” clause under the Public Offices Election Law.

Japan has remarkably strict campaign rules compared to Western nations. According to a paper published by Columbia University:

There is strict government control over campaigns. Candidates are allowed only one campaign car and a small number of posters and other printed material. The campaign itself lasts only 12 days. In American elections, many candidates pay for television and radio commercials to communicate with the voters. Strict rules in Japan control such advertisements, and candidates are only allowed a few, government-financed commercials or television appearances. They thus spend less money than American candidates on commercials but more on their personal support organizations. As in the United States, elections in Japan can be very expensive for the candidates.

The ruling on Twitter therefore is not surprising by local standards.

(in part via The Blog Herald)