“The Disaster and the Role of Conventional and New Media -A Comparative Look at How Japan and Germany Reported the Earthquake”

Japan and the threefold catastrophe of earthquake, tsunami and damaged nuclear reactors have been prominently covered by German and international media. German media very soon focused on the collapsed reactors in Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station while Japanese media focused on rescue teams searching for survivors. The devastating scale of damages became apparent; therefore, iodine tablets and Geiger counters were asked Germany for support.

German media were blamed to create panic and hysteria among people suffering from the disaster in Fukushima. On the other hand, Japanese media were accused to simply copy the government's statements or press releases by TEPCO, in other words, an uncritical journalism.

Do media in Japan and Germany play different roles or are these assessments intercultural misunderstandings?

During the conference, the role of media and their function in Germany and Japan will be compared. And then how old and new media tools were used in communications during the crisis in Japan will be compared. Finally the differences in the way of reporting the catastrophe by German and Japanese media will be discussed.

Languages of the conference will be German and Japanese with simultaneous interpretation.

Date: July 7, 9:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Venue: Japanese-German Center Berlin (Berlin, Germany)
Language: Japanese and German with simultaneous interpretation
Organizers: The Japan Foundation and Japanese-German Center Berlin
Audience: Approximately 80 people
Program: Session 1:
The role of media and their realities in Japan and Germany
Session 2:
Media as information and communication tools in the crisis
Session 3:
Comparison of disaster reporting in Japan, Germany and the international community Final discussion: The role and responsibility of the media
Final discussion: The responsibility of the media
Guest speakers: Prof. Dr. Alexander GÖRKE (Free University of Berlin)
Yoshinori IMAI (Ritsumeikan University. Formerly at NHK)
Michael LUDEWIG (dpa)
Yoshihide MIYOSHI (Yomiuri Shimbun)
Matthias NAß (Die Zeit)
Wataru SAWAMURA (Asahi Shimbun)
Daisuke TSUDA (Journalist)

For more information, please contact:
The Japan Foundation, Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange, Europe, Middle East and Afrida Team
Tel: 03-5369-6071 / Fax: 03-5369-6041
E-mail Goto

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