Chinese TV reporting on EarthquakeWritten by Julen Madariaga on March 14th, 2011
I was pleased by the TV reporting we got on Chinese TV during the weekend. It was surprisingly fresh, with different specialists coming in live and direct connection with the Japanese NHK. At some point in the Finance Channel there was a photo-slide with images of the victims, played with Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World”, that was really chilling.
If you don’t live in China you probably think this is just normal disaster reporting. But after witnessing a number of recent disasters on Chinese TV, what I saw yesterday just felt real. The program was focusing on the victims rather than on politicians or soldiers—the presenter introduced last minute updates and had experts comment on them live—the channels were not all broadcasting exactly the same images—the speech was natural and not issued from a single mold—there were spontaneous human feelings on the screen, rather than the tired patriotic routine.
Even the ubiquitous Lianghui completely disappeared from some of the channels.
Of course I don’t expect this is be a new trend in Chinese TV. I assume that since it was the weekend and there was nothing directly at stake for the CCP, the officials in charge didn’t bother to issue directives—one can even imagine that the whole thing has been welcomed with relief in a certain sense, as it definitely deflects the heat of all those J revolutions.
It is sad though, that we have to see a catastrophe outside the country to get serious journalism in China.
In any case, I like to note this, especially after reading some reports in the Western media (a bit too eager in my opinion) of Chinese people gloating over Japanese disgrace. Yes, there were some teenage morons gloating from the solitude of the internet-rooms, perhaps taking the whole thing for a new round of WoW. But this was in no way the general feeling I have seen over the weekend. And the media and the government have shown their support for Japan in no uncertain terms.
From my little website, all the support to the Japanese in these difficult moments.