March 14, 2011
Japan Radioactivity: Is Visual Media Suppressing the Getaway?
With news photos flooding out of Japan as a result of the earthquake and tsunami, one question to ask is, what kinds of scenes aren’t being served?
We’re seeing quite a few news photos (often very tight shots, typically one-on-one or two) of people being monitored for radiation exposure. What we’re not seeing much of in in the media (at least not yet, and perhaps for obvious reasons; editors not wanting to stir panic) are photos of evacuations as a result of the growing nuclear crisis. Seems editors are in a deeply tenuous spot in balancing three competing instincts: the need to maintain a sense of public clear-headedness; the need to inform and show people the truth; and the need to avoid colluding with instincts on the part of Japan’s government or nuclear power industry to underplay widescale risk.
The photo above is one of the first and only I’ve seen at the “town level” to show what I can only imagine has been taking place for days which is citizens fleeing to avoid radioactive contamination. The caption reads:
Fukushima, Japan — Police wearing respirators guide people away from the Daiishi nuclear plant following an evacuation order.