|Pacific Media Watch|
Watchdog journalism the key, seminar told
Title -- 5271 REGION: Watchdog journalism the key, seminar told
Date -- 23 January 2008
Byline -- None
Origin -- Pacific Media Watch
Source -- The Bangkok Post 22/1/08
Copyright - BP
Status -- Unabridged
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WATCHDOG JOURNALISM THE KEY, SEMINAR TOLD
By Achara Ashayagachat
BANGKOK (Bangkok Post Online/Pacific Media Watch): As mainstream media outlets in the Asia-Pacific region struggle with corporate and state control, watchdog or citizen journalism has emerged as a powerful new movement in recent years, leading Filipina journalist Sheila Coronel said yesterday.
Globalisation and market forces have opened up Asian media since the 1980s like never before.
The introduction of television sets in Asian households and, later, the availability of the internet has had both good and bad impacts on journalism, said Coronel, director of Columbia University's Centre for Investigative Journalism,
She was speaking at an East-West Centre conference on ''Changing Dynamics in the Asia Pacific'' yesterday.
The East-West Centre was set up by the US Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations between the US and Asia.
Despite direct or indirect state control, as well as market forces, Asian media outlets have relative freedom, said the journalism expert who won a 2003 Ramon Magsaysay Award for developing investigative journalism in the Philippines.
China and India have seen readership, circulation and advertisements increase significantly in recent years, she said.
There was an opportunity to create space for watchdog journalism and collaborate with so-called citizen journalists active in many countries in the region, she said.
Malaysia and the Philippines have the investigative TV programmes Edisi Siasat and Imbestigador, while South Korean website OhmyNews has included participatory journalism by amateur writers that led to the victory of Roh Moo Hyun in the 2003 presidential election.
Coronel said citizen journalism had played a key role in the light of disasters and conflicts, and in uncovering corruption.
About 55,000 tsunami-related blogs were created after the event, and video clips of Burmese authorities crushing demonstrations by monks put the world spotlight on problems in that country, she said.
"With good collaboration between professionals and citizens we can help build up an informed society, globally and locally," she said, adding that in areas where the internet is not prevalent, community radio stations have sprung up.
Orville Schell, director of the Asia Society's Centre on US-China Relations, said the long-time prestige of journalism in the US was facing challenges from not only new types of media but also from the ability of media outlets to stay in business.
"The mainstream media [in the US] have yet to transform into a business model that can survive amid economic and technology imperatives," said Schell.
He said it was a fragile system when the world relied on a few professional media outlets.
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