Journalists, photographers and filmmakers came together at the Frontline Club last night for a special screening of Kate Adie’s latest documentary.
Shot entirely on tapeless cameras, the film retraces Kate’s footsteps of reporting from the protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Returning to China with what she describes as ‘an open mind’, Adie found herself ‘at the mercy of relentless surveillence by the secret police’.
Adie found fame back in 1989 when she was one of the few journalists reporting from the middle of the action, amongst gunfire and dead bodies. She told the audience that she made a pact with her cameraman to stay for the sake of the story, despite the odds of them surviving being stacked against them.
This time round Kate and her crew were denied journalist visas, forcing them to effectively go undercover, under the false pretence of being tourists.
Despite being followed by numerous secret police cars throughout the filming process, she said people were ‘desperate to talk and tell their story of the events of 1989’.
At the Q&A session people were quick to ask Adie her thoughts on the state of journalism:
One journalist asked: “Do you think the quality of journalism has declined over the past 20 years, with regard to the reporting on Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka?”
“Journalists have a duty to report and inform the world, the fact that people come to meetings like these here and care about global issues, tells me journalism is alive and well.”
I spoke to Kate after the screening, and asked for her reaction to the news that China has blocked a number of internet services this week:
In the UK, you can watch ‘Kate Revisits Tianamen Square’ on BBC2, tonight (June 3) at 9pm.
Alex Wood is a multimedia journalist based in London.