Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ethnic Media + Free Speech

Thursday, April 10, 2008

New America Media hosted an ‘eye opening’ forum on the threats that Ethnic Media reporters and editors sometimes face when their reporting upsets their communities. The forum, “A Challenge for Ethnic Media: When Coverage Provokes Threats from Your Own Community,” gathered journalists, editors and publishers of ethnic media to discuss incidents when they have been boycotted, protested, sued, harassed and physically threatened by members of their own communities who wanted to dictate what the ethnic news media could and couldn’t cover.

A reporter for LA’s Koreatown received a letter assuring him that his fingers would be cut off if his coverage of organized crime in his community continued.

Here is an excerpt from the story NAM posted on its web site:
When AsianWeek was embroiled in a controversy over an article attacking African Americans, the vehement opposition came from members of the Asian-American community, [AsianWeek publisher Ted] Fang noted, not from the black community. Asian Americans claimed the publication as a newspaper that spoke for them and demanded a change in top management to prevent other inflammatory stories from being printed in the future.

This dynamic between ethnic media and their audiences can be beneficial, according to Fang: ethnic media tend to have a strong, loyal following. But it also can be a serious challenge when journalists trying to do their job – telling the good as well as the bad about their own community.

To see the NAM piece, visit

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