— Still thinking. . .

小原一真/Kazuma Obara – photo journalist inside Fukushima (jap/eng)

ジャーナリストの取材が許可されていない福島第1原発への初の潜入ドキュメントを成功させる。8月にはドイツZDFテレビイギリスガーディアン紙にてその成果が報道された。作業現場でマスクを脱ぎタバコを吸う作業員。彼らの安全は確保されているのか。そう疑わざるを得ないような写真だ。日本の大手報道機関ではどのように取り扱われているのだろうと思ってサーチしてみた。するとGoogleNews、47News のサーチでは小原一真の検索結果はゼロ。日本のメディアは等閑視していると言ってよさそうな結果だ。小原氏が、撮影した写真とビデオを海外のメディアに提供したということも理解できてしまう。

下のリンクのように、NHKBS1の海外ニュース番組Wave Morningではドイツでの報道の紹介、という形で小原氏の成果を報道したようだ。しかし、これは早朝6-8時のニュース番組だ。ここでひっそりと取り扱うというのは「全く報道がなかった訳ではない」という製作者側の言い訳のようにも見える。これは偏向報道・悪しき自主規制ということにはならないのだろうか。



小原一真(おばら かずま)
2010年10月DAYS JAPANフォトジャーナリスト学校卒業。




“Earlier this month, Kazuma Obara became the first photojournalist to gain unauthorised access to the power plant and produced an exclusive glimpse of life inside the facility.” (Guardian, 20 Aug. 2011)
Guardian on Obara’s photos

Obara’s message, which accompanies his photos, is a strong one:

Five months on, there is no disclosure of who the workers are and the realities of the conditions they work in. Who are the unseen heroes that are risking their lives, fighting and protecting the safety for the rest of the population? Are the conditions they work in ensured for effective work? Are the safety of these workers guaranteed? Are they well protected? Or are they merely treated as a disposable workforce? This is what I wanted to know. (link)

The irony is that Obara’s achievement has caught little attention inside Japan, especially from major TV channels and newspapers. Obara in fact sent his photos and video clips to a German TV channel (ZDF) and the British paper Guardian – suggesting, perhaps, that the journalist feared that the Japanese media would refuse his materials as unpalatable for public consumption. Thus Japanese one that did broadcast the story packaged the episode as ‘a German TV channel (i.e. the world) is still paying close attention to developments in Fukushima; one photo journalist in Japan has done …’. This was shown on a news programme on world affairs, on a paid channel,  between 6-7:50am!! No other coverage seems to have been made by Japanese news channels or newspapers. Of course, the information about Obara’s activities isn’t unavailable if you want it. But is this not a self-censorship, one that is armed with complacency?

Why do Japanese media stay away from valuable information like this? Why do they not reappraise works of independent journalists such as Obara? What public role do media hope to play by choosing not to highlight information like this? There are of course so much to be praised about Japanese response to the earth quake and tsunami: patience, orderliness, and spirit of cooperation come to my mind. But there are so much – perhaps so much more – that need attention, improvement and reform.


Profile from Mr Obara’s website:
Kazuma Obara is a freelance Photojournalist based on Japan. (D.o.B:September 24, 1985) Born in Iwate, Japan, one of the regions hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami in March of this year.   I was studying at Days Japan Photojournalist School, while I was a full-time employee at a Mitsubishi UFJ Lease&Finance in Kyoto. On March 14, 3 days after the triple disaster, I left my job to pursue my passion.”

Visit his website