Poor Japan has really felt the worst of it in the last few days.

First, the largest recorded earthquake in Japan, measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale, hit northeast Japan on Friday afternoon, which triggered a 10 metre tsunami, hitting the coastal town of Sendai, in northern Japan. On top of this, an explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant blew apart the building that surrounds the plant’s Number 1 reactor. You can see a brief outline of events here.

Nearly 2,500 people have died as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.

Here is a map of just some of the affected areas.

It’s a series of devastating events, but is all the media surrounding the devastation too much? This is what we discussed in class.

The Daily Telegraph, for example, showed many photos of the grieving and distressedJapanese affected by the events. It’s heartbreaking stuff, but after some time of all the media organisations printing the same photos, and showing the same footage, it starts to become more about ‘grief porn’, than people’s privacy.

Mia Freedman talks about this after the Christchurch earthquake, arguing that it felt ‘intrusive’ and ‘gratuitous’. And after seeing some of the footage from the events in Japan, I think I’d have to agree.

Nevertheless, some of the original raw footage is just terrifying to watch, such as the tsunami wave.

Here is the video of the tsunami slamming into the Japanese coast. Terrifying.

But it’s when personal grief becomes simply gratuitous that we need to draw a line.

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