Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan

by Tansa
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan
Cross-border investigative journalism from Japan

Project Report | Oct 16, 2023
October 2023 Report on Talk Event with Directors of a Documentary Movie "WRITING WITH FIRE"

By Tansa | Editor Team

Talk Event with Directors of a Documentary Movie "WRITING WITH FIRE" and Tansa Women Reporters / "Comrades Standing Up with Journalism in Their Hands"

 

Thank you once again for your continuous contribution to our project.

 

A documentary movie called "WRITING WITH FIRE" is now being screened around Japan. It has been screened earlier in other countries, and the Washington Post described it as "The most inspiring journalism movie - maybe ever."

The main characters are female journalists from the Dalit (oppressed-caste), a group of people discriminated against outside of India's caste system. In 2002, they established a newspaper company called Khabar Lahariya, based in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. They were in an attempt to save the plight of the Dalits, who suffer from poverty and violence. The movie is a five-year report on the work of these women and their personalities.

The directors are Lintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh, both from India. On September 12, a talk event was held with the participation of both directors, who visited Japan, and Mariko Tsuji and Nanami Nakagawa of Tansa.

 

Even Though We Have Different Cultural and Historical Backgrounds

It all started when Nakagawa and Tsuji saw the movie at a preview screening in July. At that time, Nakagawa was revealing pollution by a large corporation. She was also pursuing the media, which prioritized self-preservation in the face of the suicide of a high school student due to bullying. Tsuji was penetrating the perpetrators of child sexual abuse and the spread of sexual videos of women on the Internet. All of these issues have a social structure that does not care if it tramples on the socially vulnerable. Even though the cultural and historical backgrounds of Japan and India are different, they felt that it is important for journalists to confront such social structures.

Then, after the preview screening, the movie's distributor, Kirokubito, proposed holding a talk event when Thomas and Ghosh visited Japan, to which Tsuji and Nakagawa readily agreed.

On the day of the event, Tsuji and Nakagawa worked together with 22 people who were invited from the general public. Tsuji and Nakagawa were eager to bring vitality to journalism, not only for journalists but also for citizens.

Before the film screening, Nakagawa and Tsuji first discussed the state of journalism in Japan. Even though journalists are not routinely killed or arrested, Japan ranked 68th in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index in 2023. They explained that the press, based in press clubs, is disciplined by the authorities and that the percentage of female journalists is 20%, an old-fashioned situation.

The screening began. As a result of Khabar Lahariya's report on the plight of a community without electricity, the administration passed electricity. At times, the reporters cover the case meticulously from the residents' point of view, and at other times, they literally risk their lives to investigate the rape and murder of a woman. The audience was drawn in.

After the screening, the talk session was held. The audience asked the directors questions such as "What were the difficulties in filming a tense scene?" and "What was the reaction when the film was shown in India?” The directors said that to be able to film the tense scenes, they had to go to the area for four years to build a relationship of trust with the residents, and the response after the screening in India was positive.

After the event, Tsuji said, ”Although social conditions are very different, the gender gap index between Japan and India is actually at the same level. I felt that the journalists from Khabar Lahariya are 'comrades' who stand up with journalism in their hands. Nakagawa said, "In any country, the role of journalists is the same. There are no borders in stopping the runaway rise of power and fighting for those who are in a weak position. I think it is our role to fight to change a society that labels us as 'female journalists'.

 

We sincerely appreciate your continued support. We will continue to promote investigative reporting from Japan. 

 

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Tansa

Location: Minato-ku, Tokyo - Japan
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @tansa_english
Project Leader:
Tansa Newsroom
Minato-ku , Tokyo Japan

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