The Xi Chuan basin is classified as a high seismic area because the region is located right where the Himalaya mountain belt and the Eurasian plate collide (Li and Chen 1003). Being near an active fault, the area regularly experiences light tremors due to the constant movement of the plates…
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Being near an active fault, the area regularly experiences light tremors due to the constant movement of the plates. However, there are instances where big, catastrophic earthquakes hit the region. An example of which happened on May 12, 2008, 06:28:04 (UTC) which according to official reports, seventy thousand people were killed, three hundred seventy four thousand people were injured, and about seventeen thousand more were reported missing. (Chen, Qiao, and Liu 809) To make a good equivalence, the Xi Chuan province is like Charleston of the United States. These places when they were established were not really plagued by catastrophe but, throughout the years, they became known to be the “center of calamity” for their respective countries. (Steinberg 5) For most people, inside and especially outside China, we only hear about these great catastrophes through the reports given by media. Although those in the media are sworn to present news in the most accurate way possible, it is hard for get such an accurate representation. There will always be bias and only snippets of the catastrophe can be recorded at one time. The perspective from which the report was derived is important in determining how a catastrophe will be seen by viewers inside and outside the immediate areas affected. Responses from these reports will ultimately determine how people will act with regard to the needs and situation of those struck with the calamity. There are several perspectives that a disaster report might come from. A disaster can be seen through the eyes on a local who has experienced the tragedy first hand, or through the eyes of an outsider, a foreign journalist perhaps that was tasked to report on the case. Another and more prevalent perspective, especially in a socialist country like China, is the perspective given by the government. These perspectives are the key that determines how locals as well as the policy makers will prepare their disaster management and preparedness plan in for future catastrophes. Loopholes in the presentation of facts or exaggerations in the number of lives lost or damage to property can adversely affect these efforts to reduce damage and mortality for earthquakes. Aside from the perspectives, there are also a lot of ways wherein the reports on the disaster can be expressed. Newspapers and Blogs carry text and images regarding the aftermath of the disaster. Television and radio broadcasts also carry video and audio information about the activities and current situation of those affected. Incorporation different types of media and harnessing different modes of getting information disseminated can create a big effect on how a disaster is perceived and might well be the key determinants to the immediacy as well as the appropriateness of the actions instigated in response to the catastrophe. In this regard, the study intends to analyze how the Xi Chuan earthquakes are represented in media through text, videos, photo documentaries, and press releases. The study tries to connect how these reports affect the views of the locals, and even the rest of the world regarding earthquakes in the Xi Chuan province and will also try to determine the implications of these reports on the disaster management and preparedness plans for the area, the conduct of the rescue and relief operations as well as its effect on other relevant sectors. Literature Review A brief history of the study of seismic activity in the Xi Chuan basic region was detailed in the study of Han and Jiang (231). The Xi Chuan –
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