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Thailand to host World Editors Forum in June 2013

September 5th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Events

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The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) has today announced that the World Editors Forum will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 2 to 5 June next year.

The invitation was issued at this year’s conference in Kiev, Ukraine.

Journalism.co.uk was has been at the World Editors Forum; you can see all our coverage from #WEF12 by following this link.

More than 1,000 newspaper publishers, chief editors and other senior newspaper executives attended the Kiev meetings, WAN-IFRA said in a release, which explains that it is the first time Thailand and Southeast Asia is hosting the event, which runs along side the World Newspaper Congress.

Chavarong Limpattamapanee, president of the Thai Journalists Association said in a statement:

Thailand has so many vibrant newspapers. Journalists here enjoy their freedom and are very excited with the opportunity to exchange views on the future of journalists and newspapers with guests in this upcoming historic World Newspapers Congress in Bangkok.

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Thai authorities withold full report on death of Reuters cameraman

December 13th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Press freedom and ethics

Thai authorities have refused to release the full report on the death of Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto in April, following a report by Reuters which claimed leaked parts of the report indicated the shot that killed him “probably came from the gun of a Thai soldier”.

According to asiaone.com, the department of special investigation (DSI) chief Tharit Pengdit this weekend declined to release the full report “saying the investigation and witnesses could be affected by such a disclosure”. Reuters editor in chief David Schlesinger had been calling for the full report to be publically released.

“The Thai authorities owe it to Hiro’s family to reveal exactly how this tragedy happened and who was responsible,” Schlesinger said in a statement.

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WikiLeaks launches ThaiLeaks following government censorship

August 19th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Online Journalism, Politics

WikiLeaks has launched ThaiLeaks, a web page of downloadable ‘magnet links’ to Thailand news items, after authorities blocked citizen access to the main website yesterday.

The whistleblower announced the launch of the new page today on Twitter. It said even if the new page is blocked citizens will still be able to access information through the links which “can be sent in e-mails, instant messages, even printed on paper, in order to keep information flowing”.

According to a report by the Bangkok Post, government officials said access was blocked on “security grounds”.

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Bangkok Post publishes Thailand’s first 3D newspaper

August 9th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers, Photography

A Thai newspaper has become the first in the country to produce a 3D photo edition of its newspaper, according to the Shaping the Future of the Newspaper blog.

The Bangkok Post, an English-language daily, published the special edition to celebrate its 64th anniversary.

The three-dimensional effect was also applied to the advertisements and to a special section called Our Pride, published in celebration of the newspaper recently winning the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers’ (WAN-IFRA) Best Overall Design award in Asia-Pacific and Middle East.

See the full post here…

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International journalists in Thailand spread word in the face of violence

May 21st, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Press freedom and ethics

First-hand accounts and Twitter updates from journalists on the ground in Thailand this week have given an insight into the level of violence faced by citizens and journalists reporting ongoing clashes between the red-shirt anti-government protestors and the Thai military.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least eight journalists have been shot, two fatally, while covering the unrest in Bangkok. Freelance Italian photojournalist Fabio Polenghi was killed on Wednesday – another casualty following the death of Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto on 10 April.

Those journalists reported to have been injured include Dutch freelancer Michael Maas; the Independent’s Andrew Buncombe, and freelance Canadian writer and photographer, Chandler Vandergrift.

“Covering civil unrest in Thailand is always dangerous, but for months, neither side in the political turmoil has been willing to address ways of allowing journalists to do their jobs without fear of being killed or injured,” says Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia programme coordinator, on the group’s website.

Buncombe, who was shot in the leg while covering violence at a Buddhist temple, tweeted eyewitness reports from the scene providing a harrowing yet fascinating narrative of his experience, which he has also covered in a piece for the Independent:

The injured were removed, with priority given to those most badly hurt.

The first to leave was the man shot in the lower back. Next was a man shot in the leg. As he was lifted on the stretcher and carried towards the ambulances, he moaned and cried. He pressed his palms together as if to say a prayer, perhaps both for himself and his country.

A man who had been shot in the thigh and I were taken out in the final two ambulances. That man’s name was Narongsak Singmae, he was 49 and from the north-east of the country. As he lay waiting to be taken away to hospital, he said: “I cannot believe they are shooting in a temple.”

Tweets and images from fellow journalist Mark MacKinnon, East Asia correspondent for Canada’s national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, (who managed to sneak a cold beer into @andrewbuncombe while he was in hospital according to this tweet) have been pulled into a transcript by the Globe and Mail, creating a vivid account of the Thai government’s crackdown on protestors.

The Vancouver Sun has a moving account of photojournalist Nelson Rand who was hit by three bullets while covering the violence but survived; and another Canadian journalist, Vandergrift, who was seriously injured in clashes between Red Shirt protestors and Thai soldiers. A producer with CBC News, Cedric Monteiro, describes the moment he realised Vandergrift was injured:

There was more yelling down the road, from more soldiers running with stretchers. As the first one went by I recognized Vandergrift on it. He was motionless, his head bandaged, his shoulder bleeding. Someone was shouting at him: “Chandler stay awake.”

According to reports, he was struck by shrapnel from a grenade that also tore through the arm of a Thai soldier. Tonight Vandergrift lies in hospital in serious condition, fighting for his life. The sadness of the moment lies even heavier because I knew him. He is among four journalists who were injured today. Another was killed – an Italian photographer.

As I try to fathom why so many scribes race with such intensity and abandon to cover conflict, I’m reminded by what my journalism professor once said: “There is no story in the world worth dying for.”

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SHM.com.au: Italian photographer shot dead in Thailand violence

An AFP report on the Sydney Morning Herald site confirms that an Italian photographer was among those shot dead in the clash between protesters and military forces in Thailand.

“An Italian man was shot and died before arriving at the hospital,” said police hospital director Jongjet Aoajenpong. “He’s a journalist. He was shot in the stomach,” he added.

“Thai protest leaders have surrendered after an army assault on their fortified encampment in central Bangkok left at least five people dead on Wednesday,” the AFP reported.

Full story at this link…

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It’s old-fashioned journalism from the bunker and there’s more to come, says Telegraph

June 9th, 2009 | 5 Comments | Posted by in Events, Journalism

So who wants the films rights to MPs’ expenses? It’s on a far less grave subject, but maybe it will be like the 9/11 films; the aftermath still permeating society, when the scripts are sold and production started. The next general election may not even have happened. Gordon Brown could still be Prime Minister. Just.

Or perhaps (Sir? ‘Lord’ is less likely given the target) Will Lewis’ memoirs will have been on sale for a while first, before the 21st century’s equivalent of ‘All the President’s Men’ is released, to allow the dust to settle.

Whichever way, this archetypal British plot is the stuff of a (Working Title, maybe) director’s dream; even if the journalism itself is markedly not Watergate, as most hardened investigative hacks and other journalists at rival titles are quick to point out. The gate of significance in this story is the one at the end of the second home’s garden path. No Deep Throat, just Deep Pockets.

A small group of privileged Telegraph journalists has been embedded from early till late in what’s apparently known as ‘the bunker’ – a room separate from the main newsroom, away from the ‘hub and spokes’, away from the Twitterfall graphic projected on the wall – sifting through the details of thousands upon thousands of supermarket, DIY store and restaurant receipts and other documents.

It’s got all the ingredients for the heroic hack flick: the furtive deal with the middle man and the original whistleblower, for an undisclosed sum (no doubt to be revealed in Lewis’ or possibly Ben Brogan’s memoirs), at one point rumoured to be £300,000.

While this whole expose – the ‘Expenses Files’ as the Telegraph first called it – is most definitely built on a film-like fantasy, it is grounded in career-breaking political change, and last night’s audience at the Frontline Club for a debate on the paper’s handling of the stories, got a little insight into the process; a rare chance, as the paper has mainly been very quiet on just how it’s done it.

The ‘consequences were massively in the public interest,’ argued the Telegraph’s assistant editor, Andrew Pierce, who popped up on BBC Breakfast news this morning as well. “It was brilliant, brilliant old fashioned journalism (…) at its finest.

“It’s so exciting – you were aware you had stuff, it was going to change things, and boy it has…

“Of course it’s been terrific for the circulation – we’re a newspaper and we’re there to make sales.”

According to Pierce, 240 broadsheet pages covering the story have been published so far.

“So far we’ve published one correction: we got a house mixed up. I’d say in terms of journalism that ain’t a bad ratio.”

That was disputed by one member of last night’s panel, Stephen Tall, editor-at-large for the Liberal Democrat Voice website; he’s unlikely to get a cameo as it would rather spoil the plot.

Tall’s complaint was that three stories on Liberal Democrats have been misrepresented in separate stories and received insufficient apology; something Journalism.co.uk will follow up on elsewhere, once we’ve moved on from this romanticised big screen analogy.

Back to the glory: Pierce described how journalists from around the world had been to peek at the unfolding scene of action – they’ve had camera crews from Turkey, Thailand and China, in for visits, he said.

There’s a ‘sense of astonishment’, he added. ‘They thought quaint old Britain’, the mother of all democracies, ‘was squeaky clean.’

The story, Pierce claimed, ‘has reverberated all the way around the world’. “We actually are going to get this sorted out. Were MPs really able to set their own pay levels? Their own expenses levels? And it was all tax free.”

‘Old-fashioned journalism lives on’ has become the war cry of the Telegraph and its champions, in defence of the manner in which it acquired and dealt with the data.

For raw blogging it is not. Any CAR is kept secret in-house. Sharing the process? Pah! This is as far away from a Jarvian vision of journalism built-in-beta as you can imagine. While other news operations – the Telegraph’s own included – increasingly open up the inner workings (former Telegraph editor Martin Newland’s team at The National in Abu Dhabi tweeted live from a significant meeting yesterday morning) not a social media peep comes from the bunker till the paper arrives back from the printers.

There might be little teasers on the site with which to taunt their rivals, but for the full meaty, pictorial evidence it’s paper first, online second. Rivals, Pierce said, have to ‘wait for the second edition before they rip it off’.

Nobody has it confirmed how much they officially coughed up for the story – ‘we don’t use the words bought or paid,’ said Pierce. Though last night’s host, Guardian blogger and journalism professor Roy Greenslade, twice slipped in a speculative reference to £75,000, Pierce refused to be drawn.

“Fleet Street has existed for years on leaks,” said Pierce, as justification. “We will stick to our guns (…) and not discuss whether money changed hands.”

Enter the hard done by heroine of the piece: Heather Brooke. Much lauded and widely respected freedom of information campaigner, she and other journalists – one from the Sunday Telegraph (Ben Leapman); one from the Times (Jonathan Ungoed-Thomas) – did the mind-numbingly boring hours of Freedom of Information requests and tedious legal battles over several years, only to lose the scoop to a chequebook.

Will she get a part in the government-destroyed-by-dodgy-expenses film? If Independent editor, Roger Alton, was casting she certainly would. In fact, she deserves a damehood, he declared last night.

A member of the audience asked whether Alton would have paid for the information himself if he had had the chance. Unlike his last foray to the Frontline, the Independent editor knew he was being filmed this time. A pause for ethical reflection before he answered, then:

“We’ve barely got enough money to cover a football match for Queens Park Rangers. Take a wild guess! Any journalist would cut off their left arm and pickle it in balsamic vinegar!”

That’s a yes then, we presume.

Apparently, Sun editor Rebekah Wade turned it down after being told there wasn’t much chance of a Jacqui Smith style porn revelation or a cabinet resignation. “She asked ‘would this bring down a cabinet minster?’ And she was told it wouldn’t,” claimed Pierce. How wrong the data tout(s) were about their own stuff.

More embarrassing for the Telegraph, though Pierce said he knew nothing of it, was Brooke’s revelation that the Sunday Telegraph had refused to back their man financially, a case which Brooke, Leapman and Ungoed-Thomas finally won in the High Court – the judge ordered disclosure of all receipts and claims of the 14 MPs in original requests, along with the addresses of their second homes.

Update: Ben Leapman responds on Jon Slattery’s blog here: “I never asked my employer to pay for a lawyer because I took the view that journalists ought, in principle, be able to go to FoI tribunals themselves without the barrier of having to pay. I also took the view, probably rather arrogantly, that in this emerging field of law I was perfectly capable of putting the arguments directly without a lawyer.” Leapman was represented by solicitor advocate Simon McKay ‘very ably for no fee’ in the High Court, he writes.

Publication of all MPs’ expense claims are now forthcoming, after redaction (‘a posh word for tippexing out,’ said Pierce.) In July 2008, ‘parliament went against the court by exempting some information – MPs’ addresses – from disclosure,’ the Guardian reported.

Now, for a name for our blockbuster. ‘The Month Before Redaction‘? ‘Bunker on Buckingham Palace Road‘? ‘646 Expense Forms and a Re-shuffle‘? I can predict a more likely tag line at least, the now all too familiar: ‘They said they acted within the rules’.

The ending to this expenses epic is not yet known, but there won’t be many happy endings in Parliament. Pierce promises more stories, with no firm end date, but unsurprisingly, didn’t give any hint of what lies ahead. Could an even bigger scoop be on its way? Who’s left?

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Bangkok Post: 400 Thai websites ordered to shut down

September 3rd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

More than 1,200 websites in Thailand that violated the country’s Computer Crime Act – of which 344 had content deemed insulting to the Thai monarchy – have been discovered by the Thai Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry, and around 400 have been ordered to shut down.

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Journalism in Africa: Kenya’s plans for industrial growth could boost media

August 8th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Uncategorized

Kenya’s plans for industrialization by the year 2030 will have a major impact on the country’s media, writes Dennis Itumbi for Journalism.co.uk.

Intervention in economic policies, the tourism sector, improvement of roads, commercialization of farming and affordable credit to farmers are among a raft of radical measures proposed in the VISION 2030 document, whose overall goal is to ‘turn Kenya into a globally competitive and prosperous Kenya’.

The most notable changes are the proposed end to the currently retrogressive Official Secrets Act, which makes it illegal for local journalists to access government documents, and the introduction of a Freedom of Information Act.

The laws are contained in a voluminous document that also proposes to place Kenya in the league of fast growing economies alongside Malasyia and Thailand within the next 22 years.

Other changes being proposed in the development blueprint include a review of the country’s Media Act, the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation Act and the law governing media regulator the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK).

Hannington Gaya, chairman of the Local Media Owners Association, has welcomed the move.

“One can only hope that this new document does not end up on a shelf like all others before it, since it has good intentions, and for the first time the role of the media in development is recognized,” he said.

“The Freedom of Information [Act] in particular is a welcome move,” said Gaya in a phone interview.

The changes to the Media Act could make it mandatory for both local and foreign journalists to undergo specialized training before being accredited to cover general elections – part of efforts to restore a balance to the country’s media after last year’s disputed presidential election resulted in countrywide violence.

Further changes to the CCK will introduce news ways of monitoring and regulating language on vernacular radio stations, which were blamed for fanning the violence.

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