Imagining Japan's Citizen and Community Media in 2020

[All links lead to Japanese-language webpages unless otherwise noted.]

What will citizen media look like in 2020? For Tokyo, the latest city awarded the honor of hosting the Olympics, the year 2020 marks a turning point in history in certain a sense. Six years from now into the future, what will citizen media and community media look like as they continue to provide information to the public? That very question was at the heart of a talk called “Let's Think About Community Media and Citizen Media in the Year 2020” on February 1, 2014 at Pundit, a new event space in Tokyo.

The event welcomed guests who have made pioneering efforts in the field of Japan's citizen media and community media in the early 21st century—an era in which, thanks to the Internet, individuals are able to share image-based information freely. Freelance journalist Taro Iwamoto, who visits anti-nuclear demonstrations in front of Japan's prime minister's official residence every weekend with a video camera in his hand, began using a mobile computer to broadcast the protest on the Internet. Asuka Hashidzume, who after working for the non-profit Internet broadcaster OurPlanet-TV [en] and OhMyNews!Japan [en], a citizen reporter platform, now works as a radio personality for FM Tomi, a community station in Tomi city, Nagano prefecture. The use of technology by non-professionals to spread information only came under the spotlight following the Tohoku earthquake of March 2011.

Joined by the students from the “Student-Run Citizen Media Project to Provide Aid to Disaster Areas” at Musashi University, the first part of the event took a look at the use of video produced by individuals using a non-professional video camera. 

Student-Run Citizen Media Project to Provide Aid to Disaster Areas:

Following that, the second part examined new uses for visual media produced by citizens. Speakers included Yuichi Watanabe, who heads The Laboratory for Global Dialogue [en], a face-to-face communication project using video calls via the Internet and satellite phone to connect people over great distances; and Tadakazu Fukutomi, the teacher responsible for the Kawasaki 1 SEG Project, a project out of Senshu Univesrtiy conducting mobile terrestrial digital audio/video broadcasting [en] that may hold the potential to become a new form of community media on university campuses. The discussion was moderated by Hiroaki Sato, a video artist who has worked for many years on the judge’s committee of the Tokyo Video Festival, formerly the world's largest citizen video festival.

Dialogue of elementary school students in Miyagi, Japan and Aceh, Indonesia through the Internet:

The event is the first in a continuing series that will focus on the future potential of community media and citizen media in the year 2020.

The English post was edited by Keiko Tanaka.

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