The effects of ICT and mass media in post-disaster recovery - A two model case study of the Great East Japan Earthquake

John W. Cheng*, Hitoshi Mitomo, Tokio Otsuka, Stefan Y. Jeon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract Acknowledging that both ICT and mass media had played an influential role after the Great East Japan Earthquake, this study explores if they can also contribute to longer term post-disaster recovery. From the literature review, it is anticipated that the use of both media can positively effect social capital and civic participation, which are essential for an efficient recovery. However, as this can be questioned it is important to understand and demonstrate how media can affect people's perception and behaviour in post-disaster recovery, especially considering the current complex media environment. The two media in consideration are very different, but at the same time are highly intertwined. Currently, few previous studies on this question can be found because suitable case studies limited as nature disaster of such a scale rarely occur and the media environment is rapidly changing. This study proposes a two-model approach to examine the effects of ICT and mass media in post-disaster recovery from two different perspectives in media studies: the active and passive audience perspectives. Using data collected from the three prefectures that were directly hit by the disaster, the results of the two models demonstrate a consistent pattern that the use of both ICT and mass media can create positive effects in post-disaster recovery. They increase the level of social capital through building bonding trust, network bridging and civic participation, as well as increase a person's intention to participate in post-disaster related activities. Thus, it can now be argued that both ICT and mass media can have positively contributed to the recovery. These findings have important implications for NGOs as well as policy makers that are working on the recovery. The two models also serve as the foundation for future studies that would further explore the underlying mechanisms of the media's effect and role in post-disaster recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1489
Pages (from-to)515-532
Number of pages18
JournalTelecommunications Policy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 29


  • Great East Japan Earthquake
  • ICT media
  • Mass media
  • Post-disaster recovery
  • Social capital
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Information Systems
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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