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  •  Mainichi Daily News blasts joint press conferences (5+ / 0-)

    The brouhaha is over the refusal to discuss the radiation limits for schools and shortening the joing press conferences and having them less frequently.

    Combined gov't and TEPCO news conferences don't appear to be improvement - The Mainichi Daily News

    Joint news conferences by government bodies and the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) over the crisis at the tsunami-hit nuclear power plant appear to have been far from effective at promoting the "transparent and accurate information releases" the government said it was aiming for.

    The government's joint task force on nuclear accident countermeasures began the joint news conferences last month. The conferences, initially held on a daily basis, are attended by representatives from TEPCO, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Each conference lasts for three to five hours.

    However, despite the length of the conferences, they are not addressing everything reporters want to know. Goshi Hosono, secretary-general of the government joint task force, has declared that education-related issues will not be covered by the conferences, but reporters' questions for several days nonetheless centered on government set limits on radiation exposure for outdoor activities of elementary and junior high school students. Currently those activities are restricted when the annual dose of radiation exceeds 20 millisieverts, but this has become a controversial issue.
    Yasuhiko Tajima, professor of news media at Sophia University, criticized the task force for limiting the scope of questions and limiting the length of the news conferences.

    "News conferences being long isn't a bad thing if freelance journalists are allowed to attend and it leads to further information disclosure," he said. "Rather, if the task force imposes time limits on the length of the conferences, it will be neglecting its responsibility to explain the situation and infringing on people's right to know."

    "The government said it was combining the news conferences to keep consistency in the released information, but that was nothing more than serving its own goals. Excluding important issues like the 20 millisievert per year dose limit for children from the conferences seems to me to be an evasion of responsibility," he said.

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