Monthly newsletter: October 2018

Message from Keith

October has been a tumultuous month for journalists, and disheartening for anyone who cherishes press freedom.
 
On October 2, Saudi journalist and government critic Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for my long-time employer The Washington Post, disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he is believed to have been murdered and his body dismembered.
 
Just over a week later, three journalists in Myanmar, working for the Eleven Media Group, were arrested under a vague colonial-era law against inciting the public, after publishing an article questioning the possible misuse of public funds by the Yangon regional government.
 
And right here in Hong Kong, the Financial Times correspondent and Asia news editor Victor Mallet, first vice-president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, was denied a working visa, amounting to a de facto expulsion from the territory. It was the first known expulsion of a journalist from Hong Kong in memory, and appeared to mark a turning point in the territory’s post-1997 political development under Chinese sovereignty.
 
I’ve been interviewed a lot since Mallet’s visa denial, by media outlets from around the world, and I’ve written my own view in op-eds which you can read in Inkstone and Nikkei Asian Review, so my position is well known. The intense international attention to this case shows that the world remains keenly interested in Hong Kong's fate, and whether the promise of “one country, two systems” is still being kept.
 
I think all those who believe that a free press is essential to liberty, democratic governance and the open exchange of ideas and information need to be gravely concerned about these recent developments. And they should all be speaking out—about what is happening with Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Hong Kong, or anywhere else where journalists are under attack.

Keith Richburg
Director of the JMSC

Highlights

JMSC hosted the conference, "The Ethical Image: Challenges in Visualising a Changing World", with co-organizers the World Press Photo Foundation's Explore programme and Rights Exposure on 6 October. The event brought together experts

from Asia and beyond working in academia, the media and the NGO community to discuss the ethical challenges faced by those who create, publish and use images in the course of their daily work. Read a piece by Kari Lindberg, our Master of Journalism student, about the event.

The Bangladeshi photographer and activist Shahidul Alam was due to join the conference as a moderator, but remains in detention in Dhaka, charged under article 57 of Bangladesh's Information Communications Technology Act. Our panellists posed for a photo with Shahidul "masks" in a show of solidarity with their colleague.

It was a full house at the Main Library on 18 September for Ching Cheong's book talk, the first in our series of JMSC writers-in-residence events co-organized with the HKU Libraries. Around 160 people came to hear Ching Cheong, JMSC Honorary Research Fellow, talk about his latest book on the 1967 Leftist Riots in Hong Kong. 香港67暴动始末 ---- 解读吴荻舟 (The Origin and End of the 1967 Riot in Hong Kong). See more photos here. (Photo courtesy of HKU Libraries)

Thomas Abraham, former director of the Master of Journalism programme, was back in town to talk about his latest book, Polio: The Odyssey of Eradication, at the second of our writers-in-residence book talks. He was joined by Professor Keiji Fukuda, director of the HKU

School of Public Health, co-organizer of the event, on a panel moderated by Keith Richburg on 11 October at the HKU Main Library. We also took the opportunity to have Thomas back at JMSC to give a workshop on "Investigating global health".

JMSC co-hosted with the HKU Sustainability Office a National Geographic Grants Seminar on 4 October, which gave students the opportunity to learn about the Explorer programme. Explorers Professor Yvonne Sadovy and Astrid Andersson of the HKU School of

Biological Sciences and journalist and conservationist Laurel Chor shared their experiences and research with the audience. They were also joined by Dr. Yannick Kuehl and Dr. Miguel Vilar of the National Geographic Society who introduced the grants programme.
Faculty & Staff News
Keith Richburg was a guest on RTHK's The Pulse, hosted by Steve Vines, along with Chris Yeung, chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, for a discussion about press freedom. The episode was broadcast on 13 October and can be viewed here. He was also on RTHK Radio 3's Backchat on 8 October to comment on the Hong Kong Department of Immigration's refusal to renew Financial Times Asia news editor Victor Mallet's working visa. 
Dr. Masato Kajimoto spoke at the International Conference on Achieving Sustainability in Asia-Pacific held in Taipei on 27 September (video of the panel here) and also gave a workshop on "Reporting Challenges". While in Taipei, he was a guest on the Radio Taiwan International show "Eye on China" to talk about a recent case of how fake news was tied to a recent suicide of a Taiwanese official.
Over 440 journalists from 48 countries convened in Seoul, South Korea, from 4-7 October for Uncovering Asia 2018, the third Asian investigative journalism conference, co-hosted by Global Investigative Journalism NetworkNewstapa, and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. Dozens of JMSC
staff, former lecturers and alumni, including our founding director Professor Ying Chan, Honorary Associate Professors Thomas Abraham and Doreen Weisenhaus, were among the attendees at the largest gathering of investigative journalists in the region. JMSC director Keith Richburg spoke about
his experience at a roundtable on teaching investigative journalism. A few other veteran professors and graduates also shared at different panels on topics ranging from #Metoo reporting in Asia, health reporting to tracking Chinese businesses.
Selected Work by Faculty & Staff

September – The Economist Intelligence Unit: Ready for 100? Preparing for longevity in Singapore, by Marianne Bray

16 September – South China Morning Post: On internet censorship, China can tell the US: Told you so, by Keith B. Richburg

19 September – Thomson Reuters Foundation: In Hong Kong, disposable fashion gets a recycled makeover, Marianne Bray

9 October - Inkstone: It took a while, but 'The Death of Hong Kong' has arrived, by Keith B. Richburg

10 October – Nikkei Asian Review: China's assault on Hong Kong's freedoms threatens city's global role, by Keith B. Richburg

Coming up

As part of the master class with German documentarian Uli Gaulke, the Hong Kong Documentary Initiative is also screening the award-winning filmmaker's work. Havana, Mi Amor and Comrades In Dreams will be shown on campus on 25 October and 2 November, respectively. Details here.

JMSC will be hosting Suki Kim, author of The New York Times bestseller Without You, There Is No Us: Undercover Among the Sons of North Korea’s Elite, on 31 October at HKU. Details and registration here. (Photo: Ed Kashi—VII)

The last in our series of JMSC writers-in-residence book talks this semester co-organized with the HKU Libraries will be with The Wall Street Journal Asia Economics Editor Tom Wright on 8 November at the HKU Main Library. Tom is the co-author of Billion Dollar Whale, the inside story of the 1MDB scandal. Erin Hale, freelance journalist and teaching assistant at JMSC, will moderate. Register here.

The Hong Kong Documentary Initiative will be presenting its first thematic film series, the ECO FILM SERIES, in November. The three documentaries that will be screened explore the relationship of human beings with nature, and includes the National Geographic film JANE about Dr. Jane Goodall, who will be in Hong Kong to meet with the audience following the screening on 11 November. Details here.

Keith Richburg will be moderating the session, "Security in Asia Pacific", at AsiaGlobal Dialogue 2018, an annual forum organized by the Asia Global Institute, to be held on 15 November in Loke Yew Hall. Programme details here.