In an environment where religion pervades every aspect of society, Kelantan, the northern-most state in Peninsular Malaysia - and the only state that has been ruled by an Islamic party for over 20 years - faces challenges around condom usage, polygamy, remarriage and drug use. Marina Mahathir, president of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation, released a study on HIV-positive widows in Kota Baru, Kelantan during the 8th ICAAP. Here she talks to TerraViva's Karen Yap Lih Huey about what could be done in such delicate environment without unsettling religious norms.
One couldn't tell that just one day earlier, Phunam Pin was doing cartwheels on stage and climbing up the shoulders of her circus troupe mates as part of yet another arts-for-advocacy performance by the Cambodian circus and awareness theatre troupe, Phare Ponleu Selpak. On the night that Imaging Our Mekong programme's director of Inter Press Service (IPS) Asia-Pacific, Johanna Son, spoke to the 15-year-old performer in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, she was like any other youngster, dressed for a party and eager to go and dance with her friends.
Photojournalist Dr Shahidul Alam speaks to the Asia Media Forum about how photojournalism has grown in the 'Majority World countries' the term he prefers over 'Third World countries' and efforts underway to professionalise photojournalism there.
The book publishing process can be tedious and take years, test the patience of author, editor and publisher, and involve concerns ranging from how interesting the topic is to the weight and colour of the paper used in printing the final product.
But for authors from the Mekong region, especially in countries where there are different or not much of a publishing culture as yet, there are other challenges. These include familiarising writers with developing ideas, as well as how to work with editors, so that more of their voices can be heard - and read - in the world of books.
Leading Chinese director Zhang Yimou is busy combining majestic scenery, art, ethnicity and music, as his latest performance in breathtaking Lijiang shows. He was interviewed by Lan Anh Nguyen.
Kwon Tae-Sun, managing editor of 'Hankyoreh', talks to Satya Sivaraman about how the newspaper tries to challenge the traditional ways of coverage, the challenges posed by the Internet, and being a rare species: a woman editor-in-chief. This interview was done as part of the Asia Media Forum (www.asiamediaforum.org)
By Katherine Stapp
NEW YORK, Jul 7 (IPS) - When IPS contributor Alaa Hassan was ambushed and shot six times as he drove to work in Baghdad on Jun. 28, it brought to 75 the number of reporters killed while working in the country since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.
Just professionalism -- that is the secret of the hard-hitting Chinese news magazine 'Caijing', its editor Hu Shuli tells Rong Jiaojaio in this report done for the Asia Media Report 2006, to be published soon by the Asia Media Forum.
Santosh Budha Magar, 45, is the chief of Magarat Autonomous Republic, the largest ethnic wing of Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist. With his influence spanning in 12 of the 75 districts in Nepal, Magar is believed to be one of the 20 most influential leaders in Nepal's Maoist outfit that has staged the most successful communist rebellion in the twenty-first century. He began left politics in 1979 and has been with the Maoists since the beginning. He is underground ever since Nepal's Maoist insurgency started in February 1996.
"It's a lot of pressure but I've enjoyed doing all this," Elizabeth Tang of the Hong Kong People's Alliance on the World Trade Organisation says of the "very hectic" year of organising civil society actions ahead of the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference.
Meantime, she says awareness of trade issues, normally confined to boardrooms and government meetings, has been spreading among activists and trade unions in Hong Kong.
There will be three major protest marches and some 50 events, seminars, exhibitions and concerts during the WTO meet, and Tang says Hong Kong people pride themselves on "being able to express their opinions but in a very orderly way".