Throughout the world’s media, the China quake dominates…but what about Myanmar?
According to the UK’s Channel Four newscaster Jon Snow, the international community is frustrated at the lack of attention given to Myanmar (Burma) because of the China quake.
“Not because the Chinese tragedy isn’t every bit as appreciated,” Jon says, “But because the absolute lack of images out of Burma courtesy of the draconian strictures of the ruling junta mean inevitably that the media gaze is drawn to China and the necessary pressure on the Burma regime is weakened.”
So what about news in Japan?
The Fuji News Network (FNN) has a list of their headline stories, four of them being about the China quake. Out of 20 stories, Myanmar features near the bottom at number 17, and even then, the report is only a 19 second account of a referendum which was announced on Myanmar’s state-owned TV.
TBS news leads with the Japanese aid rescuers entering China to help with the disaster relief. Obviously this is the first major Japan angle on the disaster and will take the position as the top story. The next story is also China again but Myanmar does come in at third place, however, the story is mainly filled with aerial shots, a stark comparison to the harrowing images of corpses from China.
The NHK lead with the Japanese foreign minister, Koumura, confirming the safety of the 300 Japanese nationals thought to have been caught up in the China quake. Out of their 7 top stories, not one of them focuses on Myanmar. However, in the NHK events information section on their website, there is listed information on how to donate money via bank transfer to the International Red Cross.
The NHK: http://www.nhk.or.jp/
TBS news are the only news channel out of the above three that are attempting to cover the Myanmar cyclone, despite only having a few generic aerial shots and some hard facts to keep the audience’s attention. It is uncertain why the NHK have decided to leave out reporting of Myanmar all together, and frustration at the lack of coverage of the cyclone is understandable. However, the Associated Press has a great article on the difficulties reporters are facing in both Myanmar and China. Most notably for Myanmar, foreign reporters are just not being allowed any access, as AP editor Denis Gray says “Reporters attempting to enter the area were stopped at by armed police at checkpoints just outside Yangon, Myanmar's largest city. They were asked for passports and their drivers were interrogated and turned back. “No foreigners allowed,” one policeman said.”
It is a sad situation that Myanmar is choosing to restrict media in such a way when they know that, like the Tsunami of 2004, donations could come flooding in from across the world…
At least in China, unlike the Olympic riots when foreigners were disallowed access to Tibetan areas in March, the authorities understand that to help the situation, media have to be able to have as much access as they need.
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