Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Whose Narrative of Events Will the Media Report? NHK Reports Government Version Alone for Nuclear Plant Conditions



Japan apparently has a citizen group that monitors NHK. I'm uncertaint whether it has any actual power or is purely symbolic.

Regardless, what is important about this group is that its members are challenging a policy established by NHK President Katsuto Mommii to rely strictly on government sources for information about nuclear plant conditions.

This policy was asserted in the wake of the recent earthquakes in Kyushu. The quakes were unremitting, lasting days and totaling over 1000 with two very large quakes, raising concerns about nuclear power plants in Kyushu.

The Asahi Shimbun explains:


Citizens group: NHK President Katsuto Momii must go, The Asahi Shimbun, May 10, 2016, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201605100061.html

A citizens' group monitoring Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) has demanded the resignation of company President Katsuto Momii and urged its Board of Governors to dismiss him over his editorial policy.

Momii has been criticized for what is perceived as a pro-government stance on news reporting.

The written demand was submitted to the NHK board on May 9 by "NHK wo Kanshi Gekirei suru Shichosha Community" (Subscribers’ community to watch and encourage NHK).

The call relates to Momii's instructions to senior NHK officials last month over the coverage of the series of earthquakes that rocked Kumamoto and nearby prefectures.

At the internal meeting on April 20, he said that public broadcaster's reports on the safety of nuclear power plants should be based on official announcements by authorities rather than experts' views. 

We see in this example how citizens can push back against captured media. Unfortunately, the push back is going to have to be much more ubiquitous given evidence of escalating censorship and press harassment in Japan.

During an April, 2016 Tokyo press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club, U.N. Special Rapporteur David Kaye, reported finding “serious threats” to media independence in Japan:
Associated Press. 2016. U.N. rights expert sees threats to Japanese press independence. The Asahi Shimbun, April 19, 2016, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201604190063.html

U.N. Special Rapporteur David Kaye, finishing a weeklong visit to Japan in which he interviewed journalists and government officials, said many Japanese journalists were feeling pressured to avoid sensitive topics, and that some told of being sidelined because of complaints from politicians. "The independence of the press is facing serious threats--a weak system of legal protection, persistent government exploitation of a media lacking in professional solidarity," Kaye told reporters at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Tokyo
Unfortunately, the US mainstream media also over-rely on government sources, as I discuss here false narratives in media echo-chambers

I wish we in the US had more citizens groups clamoring for the establishment press to change that situation!  Failures of investigative journalism allow propaganda to substitute easily for news.




3 comments:

  1. In any society a significant minority is willing to profit by doing things that bring about the premature deaths of another minority and some times members of its own. Currently in places like the USA the harm is conveyed in neutral ways like the disguising of bad food as good food; or bad medicine presented as good including most and perhaps all vaccines. Because the disguises are ingenious and because the willing participants don't resist the temptations it all goes along smoothly promising serious consequences for the few that resist. Radiation is ideal as it is invisible and wrapped in science and obscurity. It might seem like quite a stretch of the imagination to believe that some people actually desire the deaths of anonymous others so long as their involvement is completely hidden. And what better defense than ignorance. Considering the short lives of many in the industrializing 19th century nations the species is certainly prepared for another round of short lives and distorted bodies. The illusion of enlightenment will keep every one in place thinking the gov and other institutions will protect us from harm.

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