The horrific Kyoto Animation Co. arson attack that killed 36 people and injured 33 others in July could very well be remembered as a pivotal moment in the Japanese media’s coverage of crime victims.
Domestic media refrained from excessively covering the relatives of those hurt or killed at the studio in Kyoto’s Fushimi Ward, but also explained their rationale for disclosing the victims’ names over their families’ objections.
Reporters on the scene agonized over how to cover the tragedy professionally while taking into account the feelings of the next of kin, who were in the midst of processing their grief.
Families in the meantime were afraid the reputations of their loved ones would be tarnished on social media once their names were released.
Ultimately, many news organizations felt that attaching names and faces to the tragedy, instead of just figures, would humanize it.
Media customs regarding disclosure differ from country to country and by organization.
In the United States and Britain, for example, disclosure of accident or crime victims’ names is widely practiced, with the public’s right to know taking precedence. Germany and South Korea, on the other hand, withhold victims’ names in principle to prioritize privacy.
Reporters covering the arson attack in Kyoto were bewildered because each news organization’s reporting activities were exposed on the internet, often resulting in public criticism of their coverage.
The attack on Kyoto Animation, abbreviated KyoAni, took place on July 18. But the victims’ names were released in stages, starting with 10 on Aug. 2, then 25 on Aug. 27. The 36th victim died in early October.
Why did it take so long?
The Kyoto Prefectural Police made contact with the next to kin for consent to release the victims’ names and to ask whether anyone in the family would agree to a media interview. The National Police Agency also instructed the Kyoto police to get consent before releasing any names. Of the 36 victims’ families, 22 declined.
According to a petition claiming a violation of human rights brought to the Kyoto Bar Association in early December, even though the Kyoto police told news outlets that family members had refused to release victims’ names, they did so anyway.
Some argue that disclosure is vital in reporting major criminal cases or accidents accurately and providing valuable lessons for society.
Both national dailies and local papers ran reports on the KyoAni attack using the names released by the police. At the same time, they cooperated to avoid engaging in excessive coverage.
For example, representatives from each organization visited the families and others concerned instead of mobbing them with the usual media scrum and immediately left when their requests were rejected. They also shared information amongst themselves on the families’ reactions.
The Asahi Shimbun and many other newspapers also explained their reasons for naming the victims.
In its coverage, the Mainichi Shimbun decided to offer a detailed explanation of why it chose to name the victims, paying due consideration to the families and avoid media scrums.
On the day after the names of 25 victims were announced, the Mainichi ran an article on its stance on releasing the names and included past cases where it chose to withhold names.
“Speaking from my experience of being a reporter covering incidents and accidents, I think a name offers ‘proof of living,’” said freelance journalist Akihiro Otani in the Mainichi’s Sept. 16 edition.
“There were people who came to the scene of the incident, saying ‘Because I knew the names I felt the need to come to offer my prayers.’ … Reporting names in the media is a manifestation of the resolve not to allow a victim’s life to fade away with time.”
The Kyoto Shimbun released a story on distressed KyoAni reporters under the headline “Torn over the risks of hurting bereaved families” in its Aug. 18 edition. On Aug. 28, the daily also reported on an in-house debate it held on whether anonymous coverage truly conveys the families’ grief to readers.
While the Kyoto daily decided to post photos after receiving consent in principle, the reporters reached an agreement, endorsed by senior editors, not to cover the wakes and funerals, according to Shigetaka Meguro, a managing director in the general news section.
Just rattling off such reasons as the “right to know,” “matter of record” and public disclosure being “common sense abroad” may not hold much sway with grief-stricken families. Experts argue that more convincing justification is needed.
At a third-party meeting organized by Kyodo News in November, journalist Yasushi Kamada made the point that “The rationale of releasing names because there is a ‘right to know’ is not a persuasive argument for the average person.”
Masahiro Sogabe, a professor of information law at Kyoto University’s graduate school, posed the question, “Are victims’ names for public purview? I think the people involved and their families’ intentions should also be respected.”
In the United States, the names of the deceased are usually disclosed after their next of kin are notified but are sometimes withheld in sex-related crimes or cases involving minors.
In Britain, police have worked out a guideline with media outlets stipulating that victims names are to be disclosed once their families have been notified. If the victim is alive, they need to get consent from the victim or the next of kin.
In Germany, victims’ names are usually withheld except in the case of public figures. In principle, protection of privacy also applies to perpetrators. But their given names, along with the first letter of their surnames, appear in media reports. Full names and photos of the accused, however, can be revealed at each news organization’s discretion in high-profile cases.
Korean media do not report names except in cases involving celebrities because the police refuse to release them under a law protecting crime victims. Perpetrators’ names are also withheld, though exceptions are sometimes made for particularly heinous crimes.
The detailed explanation provided by newspapers as well as media reports on how this issue has sparked internal debate at news outlets in the wake of the KyoAni attack suggest a new direction for media coverage in Japan.
'We're the same as everyone else, just smaller': Local student promoting dwarfism awareness on social media – CTV News Kitchener
Isabella Lamanna is using the power of social media to raise awareness about dwarfism.
The first-year University of Guelph student was born with a form of dwarfism called diastrophic dysplasia.
“I’m trying to raise awareness and educate people who may not know about it,” said Lammana, who’s originally from Markham.
She joined TikTok at the start of the pandemic and began posting videos about what it’s like to live as a little person.
“There’s also the fun ones, the dancing ones, singing ones … the past year, I’ve gained almost a million followers, it’s pretty crazy,” said Lammana.
Lammana said her goal is to promote a better understanding of people with dwarfism.
“We prefer to be called our names … but if anything ‘little person,’ ‘dwarf’ is OK too as long as it’s not used in a harmful way,” she said. “But one word that is not tolerable in the community is the m-word.”
In some of her TikTok videos, Lammana debunks misconceptions like not being able to drive or have kids, hoping to remove barriers for others.
“We’re the same as everyone else, just smaller,” said Lammana.
Lammana’s work goes beyond the screen. She is a patient ambassador for Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and a volunteer with Little People of Ontario, a non-profit advocacy group for those with dwarfism and their families.
The group’s president, Allan Redford, said Lammana is helping share their key message that “we’re not a character, we’re a real person. We would like to be treated the way you would like to be treated.”
Lamanna and Redford both said while there are still those who are ignorant, pointing and laughing or telling insensitive jokes about little people, they’re hopeful for more acceptance.
“With a little bit of accommodation, a little bit of help, a little bit of equitable treatment and kindness and inclusion … we can get there and that’s where we want to go,” said Redford.
National Dwarfism Awareness Day is Oct. 25, a day to wear green, the official colour of support.
Trump's Truth Social media platform is a perfect mess – MSNBC
Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced the launch of a media company and a social media platform designed, in his words, to “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.” And so far the platform, called Truth Social (of course!), has been as true to form as one could’ve imagined: a ramshackle, derivative project that expresses Trump’s desperate thirst for power and profit.
Trump isn’t trying to win over the market by creating a unique media experience.
The janky and rushed nature of Truth Social was immediately apparent. While in his announcement Trump said a beta version is meant to be available to invited guests in November and a national rollout is expected in early 2022, pranksters and curious journalists found what appeared to be an unreleased test version of the site within hours and proceeded to flood it.
Immediately people snatched up VIP handles like “donaldtrump” and “mikepence.” The person who grabbed “donaldjtrump” swiftly pinned a photo of a pig defecating on their profile. That site has been pulled offline, but at least one other test version has been circulating, as well, suggesting striking technical vulnerabilities.
As Washington Post tech reporter Drew Harwell notes in his analysis, the website is a crude, uncreative knockoff of Trump’s favorite social media platform — and it is also somehow already violating licensing codes:
The site looks almost entirely like a Twitter clone: A user can post Truths, which are like tweets, or Re-Truths, which are retweets. There’s also a news feed, called the Truth Feed, a notification system so users can know “who’s interacting with your TRUTH’s,” the social network’s App Store profile states.
The site’s code shows it runs a mostly unmodified version of Mastodon, the free, open-source software launched in 2016 that anyone can use to run a self-made social networking site.
Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko told The Post Thursday that Trump’s site may violate Mastodon’s licensing rules, which require developers to share any modifications and link to the original source code. Rochko said he has contacted the company’s legal counsel to make a determination.
Using a link to what appeared to be another test site that hasn’t been taken down, I was easily able to create a profile. Given its extreme similarity to Twitter (although with a strikingly drab color scheme) it wasn’t hard to navigate. But when you publish posts you don’t hit “Tweet” — you hit a button that says “TRUTH!”
Every post from every user is a “Truth,” not because of the substance of what someone is saying, but by virtue of where they are saying it.
In addition to the vapid design, it was easy to sense the next step in Trump’s project to lay waste to the idea of shared reality. Every post from every user is a “Truth,” not because of the substance of what someone is saying, but by virtue of where they are saying it: Trump’s social media space. This principle is key to Trump’s authoritarian paradigm, in which truth is not tethered to reality or reason, but instead to the will to power and tribalism — something is true because my tribe and I want it to be true.
The site’s technical woes and uninspired design might not deter new users, because Trump isn’t trying to win over the market by creating a unique media experience. Instead he’s looking to create a unique ideological space. Trump’s media group claims it wants to create a “non-cancellable global community,” by which it means a social media platform that is populated solely by people on the right, and establishes little to no regulation surrounding abuse, disinformation, calls to violence and bigotry.
The crux of the matter, however, is to create a forum where Trump has free rein to speak as he wishes to and be adulated for it. “We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced,” he wrote in his announcement. “This is unacceptable.”
Trump’s new media venture ticks all the classic Trump boxes: money, power, ego. If it’s successful, it could be an asset in keeping his potential 2024 aspirations alive. But whether his base finds the site to be a tolerable experience remains an open question.
Media Advisory: Premier Furey to Provide Details on Period Products in Schools – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Honourable Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador will join the Honourable Pam Parsons, Minister Responsible for the Office of Women and Gender Equality and the Honourable Tom Osborne, Minister of Education to provide an update on plans for providing free period products in K-12 schools.
The event will take place Monday, October 25 at 10:30 a.m. at Brother Rice Junior High, 75 Bonaventure Avenue, St. John’s.
Physical distancing and other public health guidelines will be in place.
– 30 –
Office of the Premier
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