Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism, Technology > Why Transparency of Information is Necessary in a Wired World: Exhibit Fukushima Daiichi

Why Transparency of Information is Necessary in a Wired World: Exhibit Fukushima Daiichi

Have you seen how badly recent “incidents” at the Fukushima Daiichi I nuclear power plant have been handled? Are Japanese technocrats and officials NUTS?

In an era with peer-to-peer (social media) and transnational connectivity (internet), lack of official transparency almost guarantees that the worst fears are circulated, amplified eventually leading to a series of undesirable secondary/tertiary effects. If they don’t abandon their traditional ‘official-knows-best’ mindset, every single mistake and misstep will be amplified by subsequent analysis.

The cumulative effect of each cycle of obfuscation and subsequent disclosure almost guarantees that official credibility will decay faster than the troublesome fission products in those damaged fuel rods.

After what the 2011 tsunami-earthquake did to Japan, one would have expected officials to NOT complicate things any further by obfuscation about those “incidents” at that nuclear plant.

Everyone makes mistakes, and the vast majority of humans are forgiving IF you admit them quickly.

In previous eras, control of information and culture allowed the ‘elites’ to portray themselves as infallible- for short periods of time. Today that is not possible. I hope officials in Japan wake up to this new reality, though I doubt they will do so. Institutional inertia is a bitch.


  1. MeMyselfI
    March 17, 2011 at 3:44 am

    Assumption: they _know_ what’s really going on when they talk to us in the early stages of a disaster like this.

    If you don’t know what’s going on, and you convey that basic fact to the masses, then you’re most likely going to be responsible for causing a panic and making the problem worse. The calculation is simple… fake it as best you can… work with the most likely scenario, etc., BUT DON’T MAKE THE PROBLEM WORSE.

    If you think you know what’s going on, and it’s bad, then buy time… for the same reason: DON’T MAKE THE PROBLEM WORSE.

    If you think you know what’s going on and it’s good, then take credit… but, be careful – you might be wrong. ūüôā

    All of the above are tough choices. It’s called LEADERSHIP. Causing or allowing a panic – especially based on little or no info – isn’t LEADERSHIP.

    However, someone who hasn’t actually been in a position of leadership probably wouldn’t understand this burden.

    • March 17, 2011 at 8:32 am

      If you don’t know what’s going on, then the non-obfuscating thing to do is to say: “I don’t know what’s going on. Standby for more information soon.”

  2. forcho130
    March 19, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    In this age of instant communication, I would argue that censoring information or withholding information from the masses IS making the situation worse.

    A person cannot lead a democratic nation if no one trusts him.

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