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Pakistan reporter Asad Hashim wins 2018 AFP Kate Webb Prize

Freelance reporter Asad Hashim has won the 2018 Agence France-Presse Kate Webb Prize for his coverage of the plight of ethnic Pashtuns and blasphemy issues in his native Pakistan.

Freelance reporter Asad Hashim. Photo: AFP Freelance reporter Asad Hashim. Photo: AFP

The prize, with a 3,000 euro purse, honours journalists working in perilous or difficult conditions in Asia, and is named after a crusading AFP reporter who died in 2007 at the age of 64, after a career covering the world’s troublespots – including Afghanistan.

Asad Hashim, 33, was recognised for a series of articles on ethnic Pashtuns and other groups caught up in the Pakistan military’s fight against the Pakistan Taliban.

These included an investigative report into enforced disappearances allegedly conducted by the military and a reporting mission to the South Waziristan tribal region – birthplace of Pakistan’s Taliban – to look into the deadly civilian toll from landmine explosions.

The award also recognised his work on other highly sensitive issues, such as Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and the country’s judicial system.

“These are challenging times for journalists in Pakistan and Asad Hashim’s work stands out for the kind of courageous, independent reporting the Kate Webb Prize was created to recognise,” said AFP’s Asia-Pacific regional director, Philippe Massonnet.

“His deeply-researched articles tackle sensitive subjects with an admirable balance of passion, commitment and journalistic detachment,” Massonnet said.

“I am honoured by the jury’s decision to select my work this year,” Asad Hashim said after learning he was the winner of the 2018 prize.

“I consider the award not just a recognition of my work, but of all Pakistani journalists, who have been working in an increasingly restrictive reporting environment over the last year,” he added.

The prize will be formally presented at a ceremony in March.

About the Prize

Born in New Zealand, Kate Webb earned a reputation as a fearless reporter while covering wars and other historic events in Asia during a career spanning four decades. She made her name in Vietnam and also worked in Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, India, South Korea and the Middle East. She was known for her kindness and compassion and became a mentor to younger Asian journalists. The prize is administered by AFP and by the Webb family. It was first awarded in 2008.

Remembering Louis Cha: Media magnate and writer’s legacy discussed by last interviewer

The legacy of Louis Cha, Hong Kong media magnate and acclaimed kung-fu fiction writer, was discussed by the last person to interview him.

Nick Frisch discussed Louis Cha's interlaced legacies in media, politics, and literature. Photo: Sarah Graham/FCC Nick Frisch discussed Louis Cha’s interlaced legacies in media, politics, and literature. Photo: Sarah Graham/FCC

Cha, the founding editor of Ming Pao Daily and chairman of Ming Pao Group, died in 2018. Nick Frisch, media fellow at Yale Law School and Asian studies doctoral candidate at Yale’s graduate school, interviewed the man known as the ‘Master of Kung-Fu Novels’ in 2014 for the New Yorker.

Cha was born in 1924 in a town along the Yangtze River to a family who for generations had worked for the imperial rulers. Frisch revealed that the family was held in high regard until the 18th Century, when an ancestor who had inadvertently offended the Emperor with a poorly constructed poem, had his severed head paraded on a pike. The family lived in an upscale compound but were forced to flee when the Japanese invaded during the Second World War. Cha was already living in Hong Kong in 1949 when his father was identified as an enemy of the Communist Party during the Communist Revolution and executed.

Working as a journalist and scriptwriter, Cha began producing kung-fu fantasy stories which appeared in newspapers. They were an instant hit. In 1959 he founded Ming Pao Daily and continued to write his successful fiction under the name Jin Yong while at the same time often writing news stories and editorials for the newspaper. Cha’s fiction, which was banned in China, often mirrored the political events of the time, and his editorials frequently criticised Mao Zedong’s Communist Party, earning him widespread respect as a commentator.

However, a softening in his political attitudes when Deng Xiaoping took power made some question his motives, particularly after the leader lifted the ban on the books of Cha and his contemporaries. As a supporter of the Communist Party, Cha became more politically active and participated in drafting the terms for Hong Kong’s 1997 handover.

Watch the full talk here. 

Save the date: 23 March 2019 for the FCC Journalism Conference

Save the date for Saturday, March 23 for the fourth edition of the FCC’s Journalism Conference, titled Enemy of the People? The Dangers of Being a Journalist in 2019.

Hong Kong Free Press’ Kris Cheng, left, and CNN’s Kirstie Lu Stout talk about confronting stereotypes at the 3rd FCC Journalism Conference. Photo: Sarah Graham/FCC Hong Kong Free Press’ Kris Cheng, left, and CNN’s Kirstie Lu Stout talk about confronting stereotypes at the 3rd FCC Journalism Conference. Photo: Sarah Graham/FCC

The increasing perils facing the press, including new threats emerging in the digital space, is the theme of the conference. Topics for workshops and panel discussions include the online and on-the-ground threats journalists face today, challenges to press freedom and online security tips. The conference will look at other issues impacting journalists too, such as pay negotiation strategies, mobile video storytelling, covering niche beats and more.

Speakers include reporters, editors, and publishers from leading news organisations. Additional specialists such as data security, legal, and negotiation experts will share their expertise in relevant areas.

Tickets cost HK$495 for members and HK$595 for guests. To sign up, please complete this booking form.

Students can purchase tickets at a discounted rate of HK$250. To sign up, please complete this student booking form.

Alternatively, please contact the FCC concierge desk at 2521 1511 or email [email protected]. Once confirmed, you will be contacted to indicate which workshops you wish to attend.

Club Early Closing for Charity Event

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