Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Seven journalism honorees to be featured at gala dinner

East-West Center Conference kicks off in style
From+Left+to+right%3A+The+host%2C+Glenn+van+Zutphen%2C+and+Amy+Pamintuan%2C+and+Kamal+Siddiqi
From Left to right: The host, Glenn van Zutphen, and Amy Pamintuan, and Kamal Siddiqi

One has a criminal indictment against her; another had their job and life threatened for asking the “wrong” question. These are two of the seven journalists set to be honored at the bi-annual East-West Center (EWC) gala dinner on June 24 at Manila’s National Museum of Natural History in the Philippines.

Representing Asia, The United States, and The Pacific, these seven renowned journalists will be celebrated as “Journalists of Courage and Impact” by the EWC at the International Media Conference. Each have displayed an “exceptional commitment to quality reporting and freedom of the press,” the EWC said.

This gala is a time to not only acknowledge their accomplishments, but to also hear from the President of the EWC, Suzy Vares-Lum, who is the first Native Hawaiian to lead the center.

Based out of the heart of the Philippines, Ana Marie Pamintuan overcame struggles and battled obstacles to make her name as a female journalist in The Pacific. She is one of two female honorees being celebrated.

“It takes courage to be a journalist in the Philippines, which is consistently ranked among the 10 worst and most dangerous places for media workers,” Pamintuan told the Manoa Mirror. “I’m honored that the East-West Center has chosen me for this special recognition. Such international recognition provides encouragement to keep going.”

Similarly, Kamal Siddiqi, the former news director of Pakistan’s Aaj TV, shared the dangers of working in journalism in an unforgiving country, including his life being threatened on multiple occasions. Siddiqi has worked in TV, print, and digital in both Urdu and English media, but the risks the profession provides are constant.

“It’s an honor [when] we are able to speak truth to power in a country like Pakistan, where censorship and harassment continues to increase and makes journalism a very dangerous profession,” Siddiqi said.

Siddiqi and Pamintuan both noted that this profession is often a thankless one, so the recognition from the EWC hits close to home and straight to the heart.

“For me it means that the world recognises what we are doing and acknowledges the sacrifices of our colleagues in Pakistan,” Siddiqi said. “It is an inspiration for hundreds of journalists in South Asia at a time when journalists are targeted, harassed and questioned by those who want to silence them.”

Pamintuan stated she’s been sued for libel roughly 35 times, “mostly by persons in power or with strong influence in government.” However, she said this only fuels her desire to report on the truth, despite the many attempts to silence her hard-earned voice.

Pamintuan noted that the Philippines is special because it leans towards a matriarchal society, where “the men tend to defer to the women.” She acknowledged the fact that being a female journalist looks different across the globe, with vastly different privileges awarded based on location and religion.

“Women can be executed merely for breaking dress codes or wanting to obtain formal education,” Pamintuan wrote. “All I can say is for the women to persevere, but this is easy to say for those who don’t risk life and limb in standing up for women’s rights.”

Hosting this gala dinner for the second time in a row is Singapore-based Glenn van Zutphen, owner of media consultant company VanMedia who also hosts a weekly news station broadcast and works as an independent journalist.

“The Philippines is a great place to talk about what facts are, what they will be, and who has shaped the world of information we know of so far,” Zutphen said.

Being in this career for decades, Zutphen has seen the rise and fall of Japan’s economy in the late 80’s, reported on Hong Kong being released by the UK back to China, and had a firsthand experience watching Singapore rise in economic power. He hopes this conference will cover how to deal with, and properly report on, conflicts and controversial topics on a global scale.

“We’re in the age of poli-crisis. With the current state of the world, there are so many outright lies being put forth,” Zutphen said. “I hope to see these chosen honorees being pillars of the truth despite all the noise.”

The seven journalists featured at Monday’s gala follow:

Sincha Dimara: News Editor of Inside PNG in Papua New Guinea
Tom Grundy: Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hong Kong Free Press
Alan C. Miller: Founder of The News Literacy Project in Washington DC
Soe Myint: Editor-in-Chief and Managing Director of Mizzima in Thailand
John Nery: Columnist and Editorial Consultant of Rappler in Quezon City, Philippines
Ana Marie Pamintuan: Editor-in-Chief of The Philippine Star in Manila, Philippines
Kamal Siddiqi: Former News Director of Aaj News out of Karachi, Pakistan

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About the Contributor
Emma Caires
Emma Caires, Contributor
Aloha! My name is Emma Caires, and I am an incoming senior journalism major at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. I thoroughly enjoy expanding my range in journalism by reporting on a variety of events regarding our campus and students, but my favorite area, as of right now, is feature writing, specifically human-interest stories. I’m looking forward to further immersing myself in campus life and knowledge through this program.

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