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FCC expresses concern over the exclusion of major news organisations from China’s political unveiling

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong, is concerned at the unexplained barring of several major international news organisations from the most important political event in China in the last five years.

The BBC, the Financial Times, the Economist, the New York Times and the Guardian were all denied access to the unveiling of the new Politburo Standing Committee in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: AFP The BBC, the Financial Times, the Economist, the New York Times and the Guardian were all denied access to the unveiling of the new Politburo Standing Committee in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: AFP

The BBC, the Financial Times, the Economist, the New York Times and the Guardian were all denied access to the unveiling of the new Politburo Standing Committee in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on the morning of October 25.

Chinese government officials did not explain why these particular news organisations were all excluded from the carefully stage-managed event attended by some 2,000 journalists. A statement from the congress media centre said that space was limited on Wednesday and noted that the media concerned had been able to attend previous briefings.

However, it seems almost certain that they were likely barred simply because of their, at times, critical coverage of China and Chinese politics.

As the Foreign Correspondents Club of China noted in a statement yesterday: “Using media access as a tool to punish journalists whose coverage the Chinese authorities disapprove of is a gross violation of the principles of press freedom.”

Restricting media access to key political events is an ominously retrograde step for a country and government that claims to be open and transparent. Moreover, it contrasts sharply with the relatively free and open access given to foreign journalists at Communist Party Congresses in the 1980s and 90s when the country was just re-emerging on the world stage.

If China wants to be seen as responsible leader of the global community it should honour President Xi Jinping’s claim that the country “welcomes objective reporting and constructive suggestions” and allow both domestic and foreign journalists to do their job.

Successful Scots reveal highs and lows of life as entrepreneurs

left to right: Andy C. Neilson, Co-Founder, King & Country; Malcolm Offord, Founder, Badenoch & Co. Photo: FCC/Sarah Graham

Go with your gut instinct in business and learn from your mistakes – that was the advice from serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Wan Chai’s famous Joe Bananas bar at a lively club lunch.

Andy C. Neilson, also co-founder of military and civilian miniatures shop King & Country, joined fellow entrepreneurial Scot and founder of Badenoch & Co. Malcolm Offord in sharing the secrets of their successes – and failures. The pair spoke during the event titled From Scotland to Hong Kong: How Entrepreneurs Compete On the World Stage on October 25.

Both are at the helm of several thriving businesses, though Offord is based in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he is chairman of Badenoch & Co, which invests in emerging Scottish manufacturing companies. Among the many titles he holds, he is also a director of Cashmaster International Ltd which supplies leading retailers with top-of-the-range count-by-weight cash devices; and chairman of the National Museums Scotland development board.

Neilson, on the other hand, is a Hong Kong stalwart. He left his job as a Royal Marine Commando in “depressing” Britain in 1977 to join what was then Hong Kong’s Royal Police. After two years on a paltry junior inspector salary of HK$2,500 per month, Neilson, who had studied graphic design at art college in Scotland, moved first to the public relations arm of the police, then to the Government Information Service.

It wasn’t long before new opportunities came his way – opportunities that would only have been available in Hong Kong. “The one thing that impressed me once I got here was the wealth of opportunity,” he said.

With Laura, his first wife, Neilson set up a freelance graphic design studio which soon led to a weekly cartoon in the South China Morning Post. Not long after Laura took a job in the popular Bull & Bear pub in Hutchison House, the couple decided to open their own bar. Mad Dogs in Wyndham Street, named after the Noël Coward song but without the Englishmen – “…we wanted a British-sounding name but, being Scottish, there was no way we’d keep Englishmen.” – opened its doors in 1984.

It was such a success that Neilson and his wife went on to open the legendary Joe Bananas – named after an infamous gangster – in Wan Chai. King & Country, one of the world’s major designers and producers of all-metal, hand-painted 1:30 scale military and civilian miniatures, was their next venture.

By his own admission Neilson said he had made plenty of mistakes along the way despite managing several thriving businesses. One such error of judgment was not buying the building which was home to Mad Dogs. The owner offered it to him in the late 1980s for HK$6m. Because Neilson had only recently opened Mad Dogs, into which he’d ploughed all his money, so he said no. He was offered it again a year later for the slightly increased sum of HK$8m. This time all his cash was tied up in Joe Bananas, so he again was unable to take up the offer. The building later sold for HK$80m. “That’s a case of when you miss the boat,” Neilson said.

Offord started out as a law graduate at Edinburgh University but he “hated the subject”. Nonetheless, he went on to have a successful 27-year career in the City of London. But his passion these days is a focus on encouraging Scotland’s growth through manufacturing. To that end he is also chairman of Borders Whisky Distillery in the Scottish Highlands, with its newest distillery undergoing a £10 million refurbishment to turn a disused industrial site in Hawick into a modern distillery.

As chairman of the National Museums Scotland development board he has also been instrumental in the ambitious 15-year refurbishment project taking place there. The museum is home to several exhibitions with ties to China, including the largest collection of bones outside the country. He wants to highlight the success of Scots abroad. He said: “It’s about collections sent back from around the world by Scots who went overseas and were successful in foreign lands.”

During the lengthy whisky distilling process Offord said he would produce gin using plants from Kew Gardens that were harvested from overseas by the top ten ‘plant hunters’, all of whom were Scottish.

Harassment of journalists in China: reporters covering 19th Party Congress prevented from conducting interviews

Here are the latest reports of harassment against journalists covering events in China, courtesy of our colleagues at the FCC China.

INCIDENT REPORT – submitted October 2017

Jeremy Koh. Photo: Channel News Asia Jeremy Koh. Photo: Channel News Asia

by Jeremy Koh, Channel News Asia

I was in Tonghua speaking with an elderly man in a park when suddenly a few men started surrounding us. Sensing that things were not quite right, the old man left the place first. When I tried to leave, I was stopped by propaganda officials. Shortly after, police came and asked me to go to a police station. There, I was detained for about five hours as they repeatedly asked me what I was doing in town. Finally, they made me sign a statement saying that I spoke with the old man. I was then picked up by the propaganda officials who sent me back to the hotel.

The next morning, when I went down to the lobby at 7am, the propaganda folks were waiting for me, so there was no way I could conduct any other interviews.

I’ve been followed by authorities on several occasions throughout China over the last few months. Was followed by authorities near the North Korean border in Changbai and Ji’an; in Liangjiahe where Xi spent 7 years; in Northeastern China when I tried to speak to retrenched workers, etc. In some places, I was told I was not allowed to conduct interviews in their region without prior permission from the propaganda office.

INCIDENT REPORT – submitted October 2017

From a western media organisation

After the 19th party congress opening, where we had been told by delegates that the “ordinary people” loved Xi Jinping, we wanted to try to consult some of the ordinary people. We went to a nearby shopping district (Xidan) to try to film some street scenes and speak to passers-by, but were immediately stopped by black-uniformed Teqin security guards.

We explained that we were covering the congress, showing both 19th congress accreditation and journalist cards, and were allowed to film from the public street, and speak to anyone who agreed to speak to us, but they told us we were not allowed, claiming the whole Xidan district is under special administrative order (because it is such an important area) and we must apply for permission from their headquarters before we can film anywhere in the district.

There was no violence, but they covered our lens and ordered us to stop.  We argued the case for a while, and were eventually allowed to film a few minutes of footage, but under no circumstances to speak to anyone.  After a few minutes we left and tried again further away, again on a public street.  As we were vox-popping people another security guard approached us, photographed us and the women we were speaking to on his phone, and told them and us to go.

INCIDENT REPORT – submitted July 2017

From a western media organisation

We travelled to Shenyang early on Friday 14th July to cover the death of Liu Xiaobo. As we approached the hospital, we were initially stopped and gestured to move away by two plain clothes men, while another filmed us on a mobile phone.  We kept walking, past another guy also filming us, and then sending photos or video of us by wechat. Closer to the hospital entrance, we were surrounded by at least five men, all in plainclothes, several with earpieces plainly visible.  They put hands over our lenses and shouted at us. Nothing too physical, just close quarters intimidation, shouting and gesturing. We identified ourselves as accredited journalists, showing the blue cards, which were on lanyards around our necks, and explaining we were allowed to film on the street outside the hospital.  A number of others were filming us, and appeared to be sending voice messages via wechat.  We tried to move away from them, but they repositioned around us several times.

…another plain clothes man circled him and kept close watch in the restaurant where he was sitting…

One of our colleagues had stayed on the far side of the road to keep an eye on what was happening – another plain clothes man circled him and kept close watch in the restaurant where he was sitting.

After a while of showing our press cards and explaining calmly that we were entitled to be there, they did back off to an extent and we were able to film for a few minutes, but then another man, also in plain clothes came and flashed his police badge at us, identifying himself as ‘policeman of china’ and demanding to see and photograph our passports, visas, and press cards, which we kept hold of while he did so.  He moved away and we continued filming, and trying to speak to people, but the security guys were still close by so it was very difficult to speak to anyone, and people were clearly reluctant to talk.

We moved back across the road to do a live broadcast, which we did with another apparently plain clothes security guy sitting a couple of metres from us.

Once we had moved away from the hospital area we had no further problems.  When we checked into our hotel there was a young guy of similar profile to the normal security types, who arrived at the same time as us, and sat beside the check-in desk, so likely he was also surveillance, but impossible to say with certainty.

Wechat messages between two of our team that mentioned Liu Xiaobo never arrived.  We tested this a few times after realising what was happening, and found that two of us could send and receive messages mentioning Liu Xiaobo, but the other two couldn’t.

We also had great difficulty getting anyone to speak to us on record about Liu Xiaobo.  A number of people just didn’t reply to messages or pick up the phone, and one told us he had been visited three times already by state security services and could not accept our interview.

INCIDENT REPORT – submitted July 2017

From a western media organisation

After the death of Liu Xiaobo and the disappearance of his widow, Liu Xia, we went to the Beijing compound where she had been living in late July.  There was a barrier to stop cars going in, but no barrier on pedestrian gate so we walked in on foot.  Within ten metres we were stopped by security guards.  One man got in front of me and repeatedly shoved me with his arm against my chest, while radioing his colleagues.  We explained that we were accredited journalists, not causing any trouble, and trying to go to the address of Liu Xia.  Several more men (all wearing black private security uniform) surrounded us, all yelling, putting hands over our camera lens, and pushing me and the cameraman around.  One man grabbed me by the shoulders and shoved me hard.

He grabbed my hand so hard, his nail broke the skin on my hand and left a bleeding thumbnail imprint

By this stage we were retreating back out of the compound onto the main road, but attempting to take some last shots from there.  Another man in black t-shirt appeared, apparently even more angrily and tried to grab the small camera I was filming with.

He grabbed my hand so hard, his nail broke the skin on my hand and left a bleeding thumbnail imprint (this was on the public street, not inside the compound).  They continued aggressively jostling and threatening our team until we got back into the car, where one man lunged at the window as we drove away.

As we pulled out we realised a police car was following directly behind, so began trying to secure our footage.  We were followed until we left the area, and drove around for a while before returning to try another entrance to the compound.  This time there were a mixture of plain clothes security personnel (with earpieces), two uniformed officers, and a couple of private security guards.  It was less physical, but they put hands over our lenses, photographed our IDs, and told us to leave, despite being in a public park, and not inside the residential compound.

The residential compound issue is tricky – technically the police and private security say we are in the wrong because we do not have permission from the resident to be filmed, so we do not have permission to be inside the compound, but if the person is under house arrest and being held incommunicado, it is impossible to reach them to gain permission.  This seems to be exploited by security services.


Remembering Kim Wall: Fund set up in murdered journalist’s memory

Journalist Kim Wall was an intern at the South China Morning Post. Journalist Kim Wall was an intern at the South China Morning Post.

Kim Wall was a dynamic and innovative young journalist, well-known to many here for her out of the box reporting on China and her time as an intern at the South China Morning Post.

Her friends and family say that Kim was “born to tell stories” and she travelled the world reporting on gender, popular culture, identity and foreign policy in places as far afield as Sri Lanka, Uganda, Haiti, North Korea, India and the Marshall Islands.

Her friend Caterina Clerici wrote in The Guardian that, at the age of just 30, Kim had already established a signature style which balanced “an open, witty cynicism about ‘the system’ and an incredible faith in humanity and people’s goodwill”. The New Yorker said Kim “was a rush of positive energy, a force so alive that it always felt good simply to be around her”.

On August 10, Kim boarded a submarine built by inventor Peter Madsen who she was interviewing for a story. Her dismembered body was found off the coast of Copenhagen ten days later.  As more details of her death emerge from the police investigation, shock and outrage continues to grow.

In order to honour Kim’s spirit and legacy, her friends and family have established The Kim Wall Memorial Fund to finance the work of a young female reporter to cover subculture, broadly defined, and what Kim liked to call “the undercurrents of rebellion”.

The fund has already collected US$120,000 and has a target of US$150,000. If you wish to donate, please visit All funds will go to the International Women’s Media Foundation, a steadfast ally to women journalists, which has agreed to support and administer the grant.


He Hui, China’s first Western diva, reveals the secret of her success

A lot of practice and a lot of study is the secret to becoming a successful opera singer, according to China’s first Western diva.

Soprano He Hui said it also helped to have passion when singing as she addressed the October 11 club lunch, revealing the story behind her rise from teenage singer in Xi’an to acclaimed international star of opera.

He Hui talked about her rise to fame as an opera singer. Photo: Sarah Graham/FCC Soprano He Hui talked about her rise to fame as an opera singer. Photo: Sarah Graham/FCC

He Hui, known as a Verdi soprano – meaning her powerful voice suits the composer’s unique pieces – has performed all over the world, her vast repertoire including the role of Amelia in Un ballo in maschera; Leonora in La forza del destino; Liu in Turandot; and the title role in Manon Lescaut. She has frequently appeared at leading opera houses including Deutsche Oper Berlin, Wiener Staatsoper, Paris Opéra-Bastille, and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

After receiving applause at the FCC following the showing of a short clip of her performing in Aida – which she has sung more than 160 times – He Hui recalled how she was discovered at the age of seventeen when her mathematics teacher heard her sing at school. Her parents – a doctor and a teacher – we not keen on He Hui’s decision to begin studying music, she said. “But they saw I was so strong and they accepted my decision and they helped me and gave me a lot of love,” she added.

At 18 years old she first saw Puccini’s La Bohème, which brought her to tears. She immediately fell in love with opera: “I heard something that touched me… it gave me a huge emotion,” she said. Not long afterwards He Hui joined Beijing’s prestigious Conservatory of Music. Her big break came when she was chosen to star in the all-Chinese production of Aida at the opening of the Shanghai Grand Theatre in 1998.

Two years later she placed second in Placido Domingo’s Operalia competition and was recruited to move to Italy. He Hui has remained close to the legendary maestro and sees him as a mentor, describing him as “one of the greatest artists of our time”.

After a debut as Tosca at the Teatro Regio in Parma, she remained there, living in Verona, where she is a staple of the performances in the city’s famous Roman Arena.

He Hui admitted that at times it had been hard as a Chinese woman to break into Western opera, most notably because she had to learn Italian in order to find the passion to perform the compositions. She added that 30 years ago there were no Asians in Western opera but it was now a growing phenomenon.

He Hui is the subject of new documentary entitled Soprano from the Silk Road and is currently cooperating on a new biography entitled Journey to the West: A Chinese soprano’s path to prima donna.

Hong Kong Media Moves: September 2017

Find out who’s moving where in Hong Kong’s busy media landscape, in association with Telum Media. Also, see job listings for the region.

David Merritt relocates to London with Bloomberg

Having worked from Hong Kong for the past three years, David Merritt now runs the EMEA news desk as Senior Executive Editor from London. He has more than a decade’s experience reporting and editing news across Europe and Asia, including Mumbai-based Managing Editor for South Asia.

Otis Bilodeau becomes Senior Executive Editor for Bloomberg

Otis Bilodeau, who relocated to Hong Kong from New York this June, has taken over David as Senior Executive Editor for Asia-Pacific. His most recent roles at Bloomberg include Deputy Editor of Bloomberg Businessweek and Global Executive Editor for Bloomberg Television.

Adriana Arai appointed Executive Editor for Bloomberg

Adriana Arai, who came to Hong Kong last year from Brazil, has been appointed Executive Editor for Asia-Pacific. She now runs the Asia news desk from Hong Kong. She began her journalism career at the Brazilian financial newspaper Gazeta Mercantil and reported on markets for Dow Jones Newswires in London before joining Bloomberg back in 2004, having since been the Bureau Chief at Bloomberg’s Mexico and Brazil offices as well as Managing Editor for Latin America. welcomes Narayanan Somasundaram

Most recently with Business Insider Australia, Narayanan Somasundaram is joining Risk.netin Hong Kong this month as Bureau Chief. He will oversee the Hong Kong-based editorial team that produces in-depth reports across Asia on regulation, risk management, derivatives, commodities, and insurance for practitioners and regulators in financial and energy industries. For more than 15 years he has been working in Australia and India, with extensive experience working in international news organisations including Bloomberg and Thomson has a global editorial staff of 30 including a team of four in Hong Kong. Risk.netplans to expand its Hong Kong team in 2018. Interested candidates can contact Narayanan.

To notify Telum about your move, or to sign up for Telum’s free alerts, please visit


RTL/FD – News assistant

Dutch RTL Television (荷兰国际新闻电视台) and the Dutch Financial Daily (荷兰金融日报) are hiring! From our bureau in Sanlitun, you will both work on tv-features throughout Greater China, as well as on researching for and setting up multimedia productions on finance, business and economics for the newspaper and our online platforms. The job requires you to be able to work under high time pressure, though in return offers you a high degree of flexibility. Expect one or two trips per month in which you will be assisting the journalist in the role of producer/director. A background in journalism, some TV-experience and basic knowledge of finance and economics preferred, bilingual language skills (English + Chinese) are a must. Interested? Get in touch with Sjoerd den Daas and send a brief introduction + CV to [email protected]

DPA – News assistant

The Beijing office of dpa, German Press Agency, is still looking for a Chinese news assistant. Good English language ability, journalistic thinking, common sense and high flexibility are needed. No German necessary, since office language is English. We work with two assistants in alternating weekly shifts – morning to afternoon or early afternoon to evening. In breaking news situations at night or on weekends we expect immediate readiness. In return we offer one month of vacation. Interested? Please send your CV to [email protected]

Australian Embassy Beijing – Public Affairs Manager

This position plays a lead role in the Embassy’s Public Affairs team to promote and maintain a positive image of Australia in the Chinese media and the general public through organizing media and cultural activities and events associated with senior visits and other key Embassy activities and cross-government initiatives. This position also has the responsibility of providing up-to-date information about the latest media developments in China. More details:

YLE – News assistant

The Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE is searching for a news assistant. We expect you to be flexible and eager to your job well, have a sense of journalism and nose for good stories to pitch. Working language is English, so no is Finnish needed. You would help the correspondent arranging interviews, search filming locations, do research and gather information, translate interviews and also deal with some everyday office management. We appreciate previous experience of working with foreign media. Please send your CV to [email protected]

Media guidelines for reporting on gender-based violence in humanitarian contexts

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA), which specialises in gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health, has published the following media guidelines for reporting on GBV in humanitarian contexts such as the Rohingya Refugee Emergency.

I. Purpose and Audience

At its best, media reporting on sexual and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV) in emergency contexts facilitates advocacy with decision makers and communities to ensure protection for refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other vulnerable groups and supports fundraising for comprehensive GBV programs. However, media reporting on GBV in emergency contexts – when it fails to take into account basic ethical and safety principles – can also put GBV survivors, their families and those who are helping them at risk.
The guidelines are intended to ensure that all actors who play a role in facilitating or engaging in media reporting on GBV are aware of and able to prioritize the ethical and safety considerations that preserve the safety, confidentiality and dignity of survivors, their families, their communities, and those who are trying to help them.
The audience for these guidelines is two-fold: first, the guidelines are meant to support those actors who are working in humanitarian contexts to address the needs of GBV survivors, e.g. as part of a UN, NGO or Government entity, including senior management of these organisations. Second, the guidelines propose best practices for journalists and other media professionals who are reporting on GBV in emergency contexts.

Survivors’ Best Interests

Any efforts to document GBV for the purposes of media reporting must first prioritize survivors’ safety and best interests. Considerations around a survivor’s best interest must take precedence over other objectives, including drawing attention to particularly grave GBV violations, such as mass rape. Concretely this means that journalists, reporters and other media professionals, as well as those actors who may be supporting access to survivors, must prioritize survivors’ rights to dignity, privacy, confidentiality, safety, security and protection from harm or retribution and should consider if and how a story could potentially violate any of these core principles.
Survivors’ best interests are deeply impacted by the context in which a story is reported. Prior to facilitating access and/or covering any story on GBV, there must be a clear purpose for the story (beyond “human interest”) and the implications of publicising the issue in that context must be carefully considered. Both those entities that are facilitating access to affected populations and the media professionals who are reporting the story must remain aware of the changing dynamics within crisis-affected communities, and the possible negative impacts that such a singular focus on sexual and other GBV could have on their well-being. The potential positive impact of reporting on GBV for survivors and others within the affected population must be clearly articulated beyond simply raising awareness, promoting an organization to increase their visibility and/or generating greater donor interest.

II. Guiding Principles for Media Professionals

Journalists and other media professionals play a critical role in not only raising awareness of GBV but also in counteracting myths and outdated attitudes that may persist on the issue. Drawing attention to positive stories of empowerment and resilience, for example, can assist in illustrating how survivors often act as advocates and agents of change. Below are some additional suggestions for journalists and other media professionals to guide safe and ethical reporting on GBV in humanitarian contexts:
  • Avoid judgmental language. Writing about a survivor’s history, her/his sexual practices or sexual orientation, what she/he was wearing, where she/he was, what she/he was doing, or what time of day the abuse occurred could imply survivor blame. Generally, contextual factors such as those just listed should be avoided in all media reporting on GBV. Additionally, forms of GBV should not be presented as “normal” or part of the culture of the crisis-affected context. Unless justifiably relevant to the story, survivor and perpetrator ethnicities should not be reported. It is also recommended to avoid using the term “alleged” rape or sexual assault or referring to a survivor as an “accuser” as this could reinforce the disbelief that a crime actually occurred and has the potential to reinforce negative stereotypes.
Important Consideration: Working with Internal Media Professionals
It is important to consider the possible power differentials that may factor into reporting of a GBV-related story that is generated from within an agency versus from an external media source. For instance, if a communications staff from headquarters or regional offices requests access to survivors for the production of communication materials, a country office may feel obligated to provide such access. In such cases, if a country office believes that granting access could jeopardize current efforts to address GBV or to provide services to survivors, field staff should reach out to relevant GBV, Gender, RH, or Protection focal points at HQ or regional office for support and to ensure that all staff are aware of these guidelines. However, depending on the country context, field staff may establish that there are no risks involved and that, as long as communication staff respect interview guidelines, access to survivors can be provided.
  • Never report details that could put survivors at further risk. Names, photographs, or other identifying information of survivors, their family members, or even at times those actors who are providing assistance (depending on the context), should not be used. Other information including certain specifics of the incident and the physical characteristics of the survivor may also put survivors and those helping them at risk and should be avoided. Any breaches to this best practice can put survivors’ lives at risk.3
For more information on “Words to use, words to avoid’ see Reporting on Sexual Violence: A Guide for Journalists, MNCASA,, 3 Since the name of the survivor or any other identifying information must be changed in the story, there is no need to write it down. In fact, once a name is in the notes it can put confidentiality at risk: journalists or media specialists could be stopped by parties to the conflict at a checkpoint and the notebook or computer could be confiscated or stolen, putting the survivor and family at risk even for having spoken to the media.
  • Consult GBV experts who are familiar with the context.The input of local GBV experts will always increase the depth of understanding by providing relevant contextual information. These experts are usually well-placed to support journalists and other media professionals to ensure survivors’ rights are protected. If there is ever a question of a story’s potential for violating survivors’ rights (or a “grey area” in terms of safety and ethics), these experts can also guide media professionals to ensure that they are presenting their story in such a way so as to not increase the risk of further abuse or retribution against survivors, their families, or others who are helping them get care.
  • Provide information on local support services and organizations who are addressing GBV in the context. With the consent of service providers, media reports can include the contact information of local support organizations and services in order to allow survivors/witnesses, their families and others who may have experienced or been affected by GBV to access the care they need. It is critical to obtain the consent of service providers prior to printing or broadcasting information on services. In countries where parties to the conflict have been implicated in perpetrating GBV, media professionals must use caution to ensure that service-providing entities do not face retaliation (including violence, threats of violence, and/or getting shut down by the host government).
  • Ethical and Safe Survivor Interviews
  • Sensitive reporting means ensuring that the media interview meets the needs of the survivor. When interviewing female survivors, a female interviewer and interpreter should be on hand. It is important that the interpreter is briefed about confidentiality and agrees to it before meeting the survivor. Too often interpreters are found at the last minute and may not understand the dynamics and consequences of GBV. They also may not have the vocabulary needed for the interview. If interviewers are trained they can also function as cultural brokers and re-phrase questions so as to minimise harm.
  • Ensure a secure and private setting. In recognition that stigma may be associated with any step of an interview process. Media practitioners must do everything they can to avoid exposing the interviewee to further abuse. This includes avoiding actions that may undermine their quality of life or standing in their family or community.
  • Treat the survivor with respect. For journalists this means respecting privacy, providing detailed and complete information about topics to be covered, and fully informing the survivor on how the information will be used. It also means informing the survivor before the interview begins that she/he does not have to answer every question the reporter asks and that she/he has the right to ask the interviewer to skip a specific question or to take a break if the interview becomes upsetting.
  • Survivors have the right to refuse to answer any questions or divulge more information than they are comfortable with. Journalists and other media professionals should provide contact details to interviewees and make themselves available for later contact. This will ensure interviewees are able to keep in touch if they wish or need to do so.
  • Avoid questions, attitudes or comments that are insensitive to cultural values, that place an individual or group in danger, that expose an individual or group to humiliation, or probing for details that reactivate an individual’s or group’s pain and grief associated with their exposure to GBV.
  • Pay attention to where and how the survivor is interviewed. Try to make certain that she/he is comfortable and able to tell his/her story without outside pressure, including from the reporter/interpreter or other media professional. Survivors should also be allowed to have someone with them whom they trust and who can act as a survivor advocate. The survivor should be asked where and when to hold the interview. Survivors may face increased risk of harm just by being seen with someone who is foreign and are best placed to determine the most appropriate and safest context for the interview. It is also important to consider who may be within hearing range of the survivor who is telling her story. Sometimes rooms may only be partitioned by a curtain. The time of day of the interview should ideally also be determined by the survivor: it may be easier for her to leave the house un-noticed at certain times.
  • The use of images, footage and photographs to illustrate GBV is complicated. Except in cases where survivors have given their informed consent, photos should not include any identifiable information. Any use of images should present the subject in a way that upholds their dignity. Where possible, images should be used to illustrate a general situation, rather than a specific incident of GBV. It is not recommended to take pictures of survivors. If pictures are taken by photographers, it is important to obtain written consent from the survivors and to stay in contact with photographers to review and select images, clarify any information, and discuss possible uses. Unless the individuals represented in the images have given their written, informed consent for use of their image in association with a story on GBV, the use of stock footage to illustrate a story on GBV should also be avoided. Photos of child survivors should never be used.
  • III. Guiding Principles for UN, NGO and other Survivor Advocates
Due to the potential repercussions on the safety, security and psychological well-being of the survivor, facilitating individual interviews between journalists and GBV survivors is not recommended. Agencies and organizations who are providing direct support for survivors should not be responsible for “finding” survivors for journalists to interview. Instead, aid workers can assess the environment and consider if and how survivors could be directly or indirectly engaged.
If a survivor volunteers to tell her/his story, these are the key steps to be taken by humanitarian professionals before an interview is arranged:

How to ensure a decision is “informed”

In advance of the interview, journalists and other media professionals must:
  1. Explain the objective of the interview, the context of the news story, the background on the media outlet, the steps in the interview, who will interview, who will be present during the interview, where the interview will take place, how interview will be published, name of translator, etc.
  2. Explain the potential risks of undertaking the interview.
  3. Explain that he/she has the right to decline or refuse any part of the interview and interrupt the interview at any time.
  4. Explain what will be kept confidential and the limits of confidentiality.
  • Secure consent from the survivor for all interviews and audiotaping. Informed consent5 is obtained when a survivor has demonstrated understanding of all potential known positive or negative consequences of divulging his or her information, and can explain exactly how his or her information will be used, including what, if any, identifying information may be shared. Humanitarian personnel should be aware of actors who may be intentionally or unintentionally exploiting the power differential between the interviewer and survivor, family or community members who may be pressuring the survivor to tell her story against her will, or any other factors that might make consent not truly informed.
  • Even when survivors consent to being photographed, photos should not be taken that could enable survivor identification (thereby putting them at risk of further abuse and/or retaliation). This equally applies to stories that will appear in local press as it does to those stories that will only be published online.
  • At all times, secure a written agreement from the reporter to remove identifying information from interviews. This will include changing the name of the survivor and obscuring the physical identity and voice. The exception to this is if, after having all of the potential implications clearly explained to him/her, the survivor explicitly agrees to have her/his identity divulged. NGOs and service providers should also receive a written agreement that the name of the provider and organization will not be used publicly and not be mentioned in the report. It should be assumed that nothing that is said will be “off the record”; rules of engagements should be negotiated before any information is divulged. As feasible, media professionals should share the story in advance with a GBV expert as well as any other actors (survivors or their helpers) who have been featured in the report to review. This applies equally to an in-house story and a story that’s being reported by an external actor or entity.
  • Even in the few cases of when a survivor’s identity is used based on their full and informed consent, he/she must still be protected against harm and supported through any stigmatization or reprisals. Some examples of these special cases are when a survivor initiates contact with a reporter or when a survivor is part of a sustained program of activism or social mobilization and wants to be identified.
  • Children: Except in very limited circumstances, journalists or other media professionals should avoid any direct interviews with children. If an interview is required for the story, in addition to applying all of the principles described above, the following steps should be taken when it comes to children
  • 5 “Informed consent” occurs when someone fully understands the consequences of a decision and consents freely and without any force. There is no consent when agreement is obtained through deception, or misrepresentation or when a promise is made to the person to provide a benefit (even if this promise is implied).
  1. 1) The interview should never take place without another adult being present. The adult would normally be a parent, but might be someone else who is acting in the place of a parent, such as a teacher, or someone working for a children’s protection agency.
  2. 2) Older children can speak for themselves, but there is a danger that even young people in their teens may be misled or make a snap decision they later regret. Journalists should consider whether even older teenagers properly understand how material is to be used and whether they can give informed consent. Indeed the older the child, the more necessary it is to explain the use of material fully and let them make a decision.
For additional information, go to:

IV. GBV Terminology

The following are some of the most common type of GBV in emergency contexts. Journalists and other media professionals should adhere to the below definitions in reporting on GBV.7
Non-consensual penetration (however slight) of the vagina, anus or mouth with a penis or other body part. Also includes penetration of the vagina or anus with an object. Rape includes marital rape and anal rape/sodomy.
Sexual Assault
Any form of non-consensual sexual contact that does not result in or include penetration. Examples include: attempted rape, as well as unwanted kissing, fondling, or touching of genitalia and buttocks.
Sexual Exploitation
The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. Some types of “forced prostitution” can also fall under this category. 8
Sexual Abuse
The term sexual abusemeans the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. 9
Physical Assault
An act of physical violence that is not sexual in nature. Example include: hitting, slapping, choking, cutting, shoving, burning, shooting or use of any weapons, acid attacks or any other act that results in pain, discomfort or injury.
Domestic Violence/ Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate partner violence refers to violence that takes place between intimate partners (spouses, cohabiting partners or boyfriend/girlfriend). Domestic violence is often used interchangeably with intimate partner violence, but also can include violence by family members other than a spouse. This type of violence may include physical, sexual and/or psychological abuse, as well as the denial of resources, opportunities or services.10
Forced Marriage
Forced marriage is the marriage of an individual against her or his will.
Early or Child Marriage
Early or child marriage (marriage under the age of legal consent) is a form of forced marriage as the girls are not legally competent to agree to such unions).11
Psychological/ Emotional Abuse
Infliction of mental or emotional pain or injury. Examples include: threats of physical or sexual violence, intimidation, humiliation, forced isolation, social exclusion, stalking, verbal harassment, unwanted attention, remarks, gestures or written words of a sexual and/or menacing nature, destruction of cherished things, etc. Forms of sexual harassment may be included in this category of GBV.
Denial of Resources, Opportunities or Services
Denial of rightful access to economic resources/assets or livelihood opportunities, education, health or other social services. Examples include a widow prevented from receiving an inheritance, earnings forcibly taken by an intimate partner or family member, a woman prevented from using contraceptives, a girl prevented from attending school, etc. “Economic abuse” is included in this category. Some acts of confinement may also fall under this category.
Trafficking in Persons
“…the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.” 12
Harmful Traditional Practices
Cultural, social and religious customs and traditions that can be harmful to a person’s mental or physical health. It is often used in the context of female genital circumcision/mutilation or early/forced marriage. Other harmful traditional practices affecting children include binding, scarring, burning, branding, violent initiation rites, fattening, forced marriage, so-called “honour” crimes and dowry-related violence, exorcism, or “witchcraft”.13
Female Infanticide
Sex selection typically occurs because of discrimination against women and girls and a systematic preference for boys.14 This can lead to neglect and/or discrimination against girls in access to care, food and other resources and in extreme cases to female infanticide.
Son Preference
“Son preference refers to a whole range of values and attitudes which are manifested in many different practices, the common feature of which is a preference for the male child, often with concomitant daughter neglect. It may mean that a female child is disadvantaged from birth; it may determine the quality and quantity of parental care and the extent of investment in her development; and it may lead to acute discrimination, particularly in settings where resources are scarce. Although neglect is the rule, in extreme cases son preference may lead to gender-biased selective abortion or female infanticide.”15
6 Child Rights and the Media: Putting Children in the Right: Guidelines for Journalists and Media Professionals; International Federation of Journalists, Jan. 2002 (…) 7 Managing Gender-based Violence Programmes in Emergencies, E-learning Companion Guide, UNFPA 8 UN Secretary General’s Bulletin on Protection for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (ST/SGB/2003/13).
9 ibid.
10 GBVIMS User Guide (2010). 11 Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons, (UNHCR, 2003). 12 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (2000).… 13 “Rights of the Child” Note by the Secretary-General. 29 August 2006.… 14 “Preventing Gender-based sex selection” (Inter-Agency Statement, 2011)… biased_sex_selection.pdf
15 Fact Sheet No.23, Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (OHCHR, 1995)
**Please note: the definitions provided here refer to commonly accepted international standards. Local and national legal systems may define these terms differently and/or may have other legally- recognized forms of GBV that are not universally accepted as GBV.
*Unless otherwise noted, these Guidelines have been adapted from two key resources: Reporting guidelines to protect at- risk children, UNICEF (…) and IFJ Guidelines for Reporting on Violence Against Women, Ethical Journalism Initiative (… reporting-on-violence-against-women)

FCC supports HKJA statement on threatening letters to Hong Kong Free Press staff

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong, supports the Hong Kong Journalists Association as it calls for the police to thoroughly investigate threatening letters sent to Hong Kong Free Press staff and their family members.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association is appalled at the threat mails received by the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) over the weeks. We call on the police to investigate it with its best endeavour. Journalists should be allowed to work without fear.

An excerpt from a letter sent to the family of Hong Kong Free Press editor-in-chief, Tom Grundy. Photo: HKFP An excerpt from a letter sent to the family of Hong Kong Free Press editor-in-chief, Tom Grundy. Photo: HKFP


The intimidation is real not only because the threat to harm but also the delivery of the letters to the home address of two journalists, namely HKFP’s Editor in Chief Tom Grundy and commentator Tim Hamlett as well as that of Mr Grundy’s family in UK.

The letters warned two and their team from “spreading hatred and dividing Hong Kong, China society”.

The one sent to Mr Grundy’s family said: “In politics, when one does not know ones enemies clearly, one could get hurt… I and many people would really regret if something happen to Tom in the next few years.”

These have gone beyond disagreement of a media’s editorial line and should not be tolerated in Hong Kong where press freedom is promised by the Basic Law. We understood the journalists have reported the threats to the police. The authorities should ensure their safety with their best effort.

Hong Kong Journalists Association
4 October 2017

Video: Everything you need to know about China’s upcoming 19th Party congress

Four China experts discussed their views on who’s in and who’s out as the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China approaches.

The debate at the FCC on October 3 featured panelists Dr. Willy Lam of Centre for China Studies and the History Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Dr. Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Department of Government and International Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University; Dr. Chloé Froissart of Tsinghua University Sino-French Centre in Social Sciences in Beijing; and Dr. Bill Taylor of the Department of Public Policy, City University of Hong Kong.

Left to right: Dr. Bill Taylor, Dr. Chloé Froissart, Dr. Jean-Pierre Cabestan, and Dr. Willy Lam. Photo: Sarah Graham/FCC Left to right: Dr. Bill Taylor, Dr. Chloé Froissart, Dr. Jean-Pierre Cabestan, and Dr. Willy Lam. Photo: Sarah Graham/FCC

Dr Lam, author of several books on China including his most recent Routledge Handbook of the Chinese Communist Party, went so far as to predict the top seven Politburo Standing committee members to be unveiled at the congress which begins on October 18.

The panel speculated on how the policies due to be announced at the congress would affect China’s population, and its international relations.

Watch the debate below

Club notice: New operating hours for Main Bar and Lounge

Dear Members,
Please be informed that, due to operational and cost reasons, the Board of Governors has decided that with effect from 15 August, the Main Bar and Lounge will close at midnight from Sunday to Wednesday unless there is a special event. The Main Bar remains open until 2:00 am from Thursday night through Saturday night.
Monday – Saturday Sundays Public Holidays
Administration Office Mon–Fri:09:00–17:00
closed closed
Reception Mon–Fri:09:00–21:00
closed closed
Accounts Office Mon–Fri:09:00–17:00
closed closed
Workroom 08:00–23:00 08:00–23:00 08:00–23:00
Health Club 07:00–22:00 10:00–19:00 10:00–19:00
Bert’s Mon/Tue/Wed/Sat:12:00–24:00
Thu/Fri: 12:00–01:00
closed closed
Main Bar Mon–Wed:10:00-24:00
10:00-24:00 Sun-Wed:10:00-24:00
Lounge Mon–Wed:07:30- 24:00
10:00-24:00 Sun-Wed:10:00-24:00
Dining Room,Verandah
& Chinese Restaurant
closed closed
Function Rooms as booked as booked as booked
Thank you for your kind attention.
Juliana Liu


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