In May 2020, Kimura Hana, a 22–year–old professional wrestler and a cast member of Terrace House–a reality show aired on the Fuji Television Network–passed away. Ms. Kimura allegedly took her life after being subjected to social media harassment that had been triggered by an episode of the show.
”Reality show,„ in the first place, is a genre of television programs, but its definition and formats are rather ambiguous. Deducing from roughly common characteristics, we may define it as ”a program in which the production staff create a fictitious situation, star ordinary people or unknown actors/entertainers, device gimmicks that may induce changes in the emotions and behaviors of participants, and document their reactions„. The number of reality shows has grown over the past two decades, notably in Europe and America, and some shows are now available on pay video streaming services.
However, right from the start, reality shows invited criticisms over issues such as the mental distress of participants forced to balance on a thin line between truth and fiction for long hours, the show's social experimental aspect of using gimmicks to make participants struggle, and the ethical issue of viewers' ”peeping into„ participants' personal lives, and with a number of participants having taken their lives, reality TV became a social problem in Europe and America. With the spread of social media in recent years, reality show cast members have become more exposed to defamation and slander, and there has been a pressing need for appropriate measures to be taken.
The author examines what should be take into account in the field of media studies in order to prevent painful incidents such as the death of Ms. Kimura from being repeated. As the first part of the discussion, this article tries to identify what exactly reality shows are, why this genre has grown to this extent, and what issues have been indicated so far.
Typhoon Hagibis (Typhoon No. 19 in the first year of Reiwa) landed on the Izu Peninsula on October 12, 2019 and brought record-breaking heavy rains across eastern Japan. The NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute conducted a public opinion survey in Fukushima Prefecture's two cities damaged by Hagibis, Motomiya City and Iwaki City, using a mail method, targeting residents in flooded areas.
In Motomiya City, 70% of the respondents were aware of the evacuation advisory through various ways, typically through a portable emergency radio that had been distributed to every household by the city government. However, those who evacuated from home accounted for 23%, and 68% remained at home. Nearly half (47%) thought their houses might be flooded, based on their past flood experiences. Meanwhile, some residents did not evacuate because they thought “it would be less severe than the August 5 Flood in 1986”, which indicates past disaster experiences also acted as a restraint on their evacuation behaviors.
In Iwaki City, over 80% of the respondents were aware of the evacuation advisory. However, only 29% actually evacuated from home. Among those who remained at home, many cited “I did not think the area I live would be flooded” (58%) and “I never thought the Natsui River would flood” (39%).
The survey reconfirmed that for older people television is their lifeline for information. Since there were specific requests such as “use larger letters on the screen,” “keep the messages longer on the screen,” and “use an alarm sound,” it will be indispensable for broadcasting media outlets to listen to these voices.
In June, 2019, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Australia's primary public service broadcaster, was raided by the Australian Federal Police (AFP). The raid was triggered by the ABC's reports on the Australian armed forces' alleged killing of Afghan civilians. The AFP regarded the ABC's receipt and publication of classified military documents as a serious situation. Australian media responded strongly against the raids, which they said was an act threatening the public's right to know.
In response to this, the Federal Parliament established a committee for investigating whether the balance between right to know and national security was appropriately maintained, and sought media organizations' and government agencies' views on this issue.
This paper extracts key points of argument by summarizing the sequence of events regarding Australia's national security laws based on documents submitted to the committee. Consequently, it is indicated that Australia's national security laws have been tightened for journalistic activities after repeated modifications and revisions and that legal experts problematized this trend and recommended to correct the situation.
Meanwhile, it is found that the Australian government believes that the national security must be strictly protected and therefore it makes sense to issue tighter laws.
Some experts say that tightening national security laws is becoming a global trend. One of them suggested the public's right to know might be restrained more strictly even in democratic countries.