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Author: Masaharu Tsubokura M.D., PhD.

Editor: Yudai Kaneda

343  Media information: One size fits all

4 September 2021

Various media sources have disseminated information about the nuclear accident and radiation. In addition to through television, newspapers, and magazines, information about the recent outbreak of new coronavirus infections has also been transmitted via the Internet and social networking sites through smartphones and PCs. It is common for something that happened a few minutes ago to spread around the world in an instant.

 As a result, the speed and diversity of information has been enhanced, and we are now able to obtain a variety of information instantly. On the other hand, as was the case with the nuclear power plant accident and radiation, there is so much information flying around that it has become difficult to know what is right and what is not.

 Each media source has its strengths and weaknesses with regard to disseminating information. Knowing the characteristics of the Internet, social networking sites, and other media is important to make sure you are able to interpret the various types of information and move forward.

 One of the major differences between searching for information on the Internet and media such as television, newspapers, and magazines is that on the Internet, we search only for information that we want to know. Therefore, we inevitably tend to be biased toward information in which we are interested and that makes sense to us. I would like to introduce this issue in more detail in the next issue.

344  Different opinions, unheard Internet

11 September 2021

Various media have been used to communicate information about the nuclear accident and radiation, not only TV, newspapers, and magazines, but also the Internet and social networking sites. Each media source has advantages and disadvantages regarding the dissemination of information. It is important to know the characteristics of the Internet and social media to make sure you are able to digest the various types of information and move forward.

 One characteristic of the Internet is the echo chamber phenomenon. An “echo” means “reverberation,” and “chamber” means “a closed room.” Imagine shouting something against a wall in a closed, quiet room. Your voice will stick, and you will hear not only your own voice, but also the voices of others that have stuck, as if you are hearing many of the same things that you have uttered from all around you. The same voices as your own are amplified and different voices are drowned out.

 It has been said that the online world is prone to this echo chamber effect. If you unknowingly enter into an echo chamber on the Internet, it is easy to become more entrenched in your belief that you are “right” because it seems that no one around you has a different opinion than you do.


The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, on 4 and 11 September 2021 were reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.


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