YANGON (March 11, 2014) – Journalists working in countries experiencing a transition to democracy spoke to attendees at the East-West Center’s Media Conference today on challenges they face in doing their work.
A common theme brought up by the journalists was a lack of institutional support. Moayyed Ali Jafri, a correspondent with Pakistan’s The News International Daily, said that security for journalists has been a major issue, with the police and intelligence services sometimes being complicit in violence against reporters. “Once you report, you’re kind of on your own,” he said.
Fatai Fainga’a of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission said that despite her employer being a state network, there is little government support for its work. She said government officials often screen and edit reports on governmental issues before they air, making objective reporting difficult.
“If we want to improve, or better our services to the public, we have to do it ourselves,” she said.
Chang Liu, a senior reporter for Global Times based in Beijing, said media in China is split into two camps – the state-subsidized media, like CCTV, and the market-driven media that rely on advertisements to survive. Despite the latter media not being under direct government control, she said that publishers still risk grave consequences if they publish content that the government does not favor.
– Reporting by Casey Morell, Missouri School of Journalism