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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 April 18 - 24  > Nuclear ‘community of interest’ controls media coverage
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2012 April 18 - 24 [NUCLEAR CRISIS]

Nuclear ‘community of interest’ controls media coverage

April 24, 2012

Akahata “Current” column

The other day, I went to a study meeting on mass media in my community. Many participants there expressed their distrust of media coverage, saying, “I’m not really counting on TV or newspapers for accurate information,” and “Why do they ignore big rallies even though they are participated in by tens of thousands of people?”

Their frustration was most felt regarding how the media reports on nuclear power generation. Nakatsukuma Takuzo, a former producer of a tabloid TV talk show, responded by saying, “Mass media only reports what is accepted by those in power. Radiation issues are politically sensitive topics for them to be able to cover objectively.”

But what if they actually cover politically sensitive topics? The former TV producer introduced a recent example when at the end of last year NHK took up the issues of low-level radiation exposure in its program and met with strong protest from 112 members of the “community of interest” that has made enormous profits from nuclear power generation. In a statement sent to NHK, they argued that such a program “could possibly throw many citizens into confusion.”

About 20 years ago, an interesting report was published titled, “How to get public acceptance (PA) of atomic energy.” Written by the Japan Atomic Energy Relations Organization (JAERO), it listed various PR tactics to use to reduce public anxiety in regard to nuclear power plants.

The report recommended utility companies to develop personal relationships with those working in mass media in order to promote media coverage favorable to NPP. It argued, “If deeper ties are established, it is very natural to give consideration to the importance of those ties.”

Nakatsukuma confessed that he had once been requested to create a TV program to promote nuclear power generation, but he rejected the request. “If I had accepted the request, I wouldn’t be in the position to be able to talk about this topic today,” he said.
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