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Environmental Conflict and the Media


Edited By Libby Lester and Brett Hutchins

Has the hype associated with the «revolutionary» potential of the World Wide Web and digital media for environmental activism been muted by the past two decades of lived experience? What are the empirical realities of the prevailing media landscape?
Using a range of related disciplinary perspectives, the contributors to this book analyze and explain the complicated relationship between environmental conflict and the media. They shine light on why media are central to historical and contemporary conceptions of power and politics in the context of local, national and global issues and outline the emerging mixture of innovation and reliance on established strategies in environmental campaigns.
With cases drawn from different sections of the globe – Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe, Latin America, China, Japan, the Pacific Islands, Africa – the book demonstrates how conflicts emanate from and flow across multiple sites, regions and media platforms and examines the role of the media in helping to structure collective discussion, debate and decision-making.
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13 As Fukushima Unfolds: Media Meltdown and Public Empowerment: Kumi Kato


The aftershock of the 3.11 East Japan earthquake was felt globally—most significantly as a re-think on nuclear power. In Japan there is a strong public movement towards a nuclear-free and more sustainable and democratic society. Several issues have fuelled this public mobilization, including the realization that, as a small nation of just over 120 million people, Japan has lived with 54 nuclear power reactors introduced progressively with minimal public consultation, and also that media reports on Fukushima merely reiterated the official government line with feeble “expert” commentaries. The more than one million relief volunteers who contributed to the reconstruction effort are also now recognizing their social and personal power; and inevitably, some may say, a truly independent alternative media network and a range of NGOs continue to provide credible information, nationally and internationally. The general public gradually became empowered and found a voice as the meltdown of Fukushima unfolded in the mainstream media. This chapter attempts to account for the lack of critical media debate while, at the same time, the general public is making a major turn-around over the nuclear issue.

June 16, 2011, was the forty-third nuclear-free day in Japan since operation of all nuclear power plants was suspended. At more than 100 venues around the nation, crowds gathered to watch a documentary, The 4th Revolution: Energy Autonomy, which advocates the possibility of a 100-percent renewable future, using examples of successful innovations around the world. The audience, feeling uplifted by the ← 201 | 202 → positive prospect...

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