Saturday, April 23, 2011

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Control Over the Independent Press Getting Tighter

Now, with the "unified" press conference (Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, Nuclear Safety Commission, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and Tokyo Electric Power Company including Mr. Hosono, Secretary General of the Unification headquarters of measures for Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident) coming, you will have to belong to a press club approved by the Japanese government if you want to attend the press conference.

This is how a fascist government controls the press.

What about those that do not belong to the establishment press clubs? Internet-based journalists and freelance journalists are the ones who have been breaking news about the Fukushima accident ignored by the Japanese MSM.

Yes, there is a press club for Internet-based journalists called "Internet News Association of Japan" but there are only 5 corporate members of that Association who pay 120,000 yen for the annual corporate membership, and they are not accepting any individual members. It looks like a very flaky organization, but for some unknown reason the government has accepted them as a legit press club. (Maybe the founders of the Association are friends of the government officials.) It looks almost as if this Association was set up to exclude the truly independent, freelance journalists and net-based news organizations.

The only way the freelance journalists to qualify to attend the unified presser is to submit, among other information, more than two articles with their bylines that appeared in the major news outlets that are the members of accepted press clubs, and hope for the best. (For specific details on how to qualify and how to attend the conference - which entrance to use, how to exit the building, etc. - see here.)

One of the freelance journalists in Japan who has been tirelessly uncovering the information that the government and TEPCO have tried to suppress may be one of those who will be excluded from the unified press conference, as his company doesn't belong to any of the approved press clubs.

Yasumi Iwakami's USTREAM channels have been live-streaming every single press conference in its entirety given by TEPCO and Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency since the accident. When I watched the hour-long presser the other day when NISA's Nishiyama announced Level 7, 11,000 people were watching with me. But that's precisely why the government wants to exclude journalists like him. Unedited, full coverage of the press conference? Oh the horror! The masses don't need to know everything, do they? They should be fed a snippet here and a snippet there from the long-established friends of the government.

From TEPCO's press release (their English; 4/23/2011):

Unification headquarters of measures for Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident

From Monday, April 25, 2011, Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, Nuclear Safety Commission, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and Tokyo Electric Power Company including Mr. Hosono, Secretary General of the Unification headquarters of measures for Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident, decide to hold a joint press conference in the third (3rd) floor meeting room of the Tokyo Electric Power Company head office where there is put the headquarters, once in the afternoon (at around 5:00 PM).

In addition, the participation of the following people can attend this press conference.

1.Member of Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association

2.Member of Japan Specialized Newspapers Association

3.Member of Japan Local Newspaper Association

4.Member of National Association of Commercial Broadcasters in Japan

5.Member of Japan Magazine Publishers Association

6.Member of Internet News Association of Japan

7.Member of Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (FCCJ) and holder of
Foreign Press Registration Card

8.The person equivalent to the member or holder listed above 1 to 7,
reinterprets the issuance media based on objective, substance and

9.The person who provides articles to the medium above which the medium
publishes regularly (as it is called "freelance").

We would like to request the people of the media to make an arrangement following a predetermined procedure listed in an attached sheet, and pre-registration is required. (Referred to the HP of Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency)

In addition, we request the participant adheres closely to a news ethical standards and at the time of an entering a building procedure or movement, please follow the instructions of the staff. In case you do not to follow the instructions, we may ask you to go out of the building.

[Reference about the pre-registration]

Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency Emergency Response Center (ERC)
public relations squad:
*We do not accept any inquiry over the telephone.

A "news ethical standards". That's a good one, TEPCO and NISA.


netudiant said...

What is surprising is that this has taken so long.
Japan is under assault. A large part of Honshu has been lost and more is being lost as the days go by.
Essentially, the country is at war, but no one wants to admit it, because that would require dramatic adjustments for everyone, both people and institutions.
Still, the losses are getting to be so large that some damage control is becoming essential to avoid public unrest. The press pool is a standard first step for managing public access to information. Internet censorship is a natural second step, usually justified by some pretext such as terrorism, child pornography or foreign espionage. China is emerging as a model for government internet management.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Well, Japan has always had this exclusive "press club" thing, and it was fine and dandy for TPTB until the Internet came along.

The ordinary Japanese are uneasy because of lack of credible information. All the info from the official source has turned out to be either false or awfully inadequate while letting people exposed to more radiation. They are at war alright, but not necessarily against the nuclear disaster.

Anonymous said...

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