by Bernhard S. Debatin, Professor; Director of Tutorial Studies for Journalism
Time: Tuesday, April 26, at 7:30
Ohio University, School of Journalism
Scripps Hall 111 (auditorium)
April 26, 2011, is the 25th anniversary of the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl.
To commemorate this horrible event, we will first have a 20 minutes reading from the oral history book “Voices from Chernobyl” by Russian journalist Svetlana Alexievich, who collected these stories for the 10th anniversary of Chernobyl. The reading will be set to music from Dimitri Shostakovich’s 11th Symphony, specifically a variation on the Russia…n funeral march “You Fell as Victims.”
Following the reading, we will show the 90 minutes documentary “The Battle of Chernobyl” by Thomas Johnson, which explains the causes and consequences of the nuclear accident and documents the tremendously complicated clean-up operation in the aftermath of the catastrophe. The film was featured on Discovery Channel.
After the film screening, there will be time for a discussion.
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While Chernobyl has so far been the most devastating accident in a nuclear power plant, the ongoing crisis in Fukushima shows that Chernobyl was by no means a unique and extremely rare event. The proponents of nuclear power have claimed over and over again that the risk of a devastating accident was so small that it would only occur once in a million years. 25 years after Chernobyl, we have yet another nuclear accident in Fukushima that is rated on the same scale (7 out of 7) as Chernobyl.
It seems that a million years are considerably shorter than we thought.
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When Chernobyl exploded, there was a lot of confusion and an outrageous lack of information about the disaster. The Soviet government, in concord with Western media and governments, employed the three-D-approach: downplay, dazzle, disinform.
We have seen the same three-D-approach at work in Fukushima. That is very concerning because Japan is a democracy with free media. Looking at the more than suboptimal information about the ongoing Fukushima disaster, we can no longer assume that the three-D-approach is specific to the political circumstances in the Soviet Union. Instead, we have to understand that mega-technology such as nuclear power, is built upon secrecy and disguise, independent of the political and economical system
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The event is sponsored by ECOFIN (Environmental Communication Faculty Initiative) and HTC Journalism. It is part of the 2011 Earth Month at Ohio University.
Javier Wegescheide, Spencer Smith, Benjamin Stewart, Anna Nkrumah, Isaac Smith, Kristen Helmsdoerfer, Allie Dyer, Jessie Cadle, and Savannah Aepli.