Wan-Ifra’s grave concern over Jimmy Lai arrest

Continued jailing of Hopewell Chin’ono and Mahmoud Hussein

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Wan-Ifra’s grave concern over Jimmy Lai arrest
Jimmy Lai being taken away on 10 August 2020 early morning. Photo ST via Internet

Wan-Ifra, the World Association of News Publishers and the World Editors Forum, has said the arrest of Apple Daily’s publisher is an assault against Hong Kong’s citizens’ freedoms. It has expressed grave concern over the arrest in Hong Kong on Monday (10 August 2020) of Jimmy Lai, the founder and publisher of Apple Daily, the continued detention of Hopewell Chin’ono, a Zimbabwean journalist and 2010 Nieman Fellow and the increased jail time for Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein in Egypt. 

Lai, his two sons, and six executives of Apple Daily’s parent company, Next Digital, were arrested under new National Security Laws early on Monday. Some 200 policemen raided the Apple Daily offices. The laws adopted by China for the city at the end of June, criminalize secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces – the charge levied against Mr Lai.

Apple Daily, a tabloid, is Hong Kong’s widest-read publication, both in print and online. WAN-IFRA President, Fernando De Yarza Lopez-Madrazo said the arrests and raid confirmed fears that the new law would be used to silence pro-democracy voices and the press. “It is a dark day for journalism and press freedom in Hong Kong. We strongly condemn the actions of Hong Kong’s National Security Department police on Monday as an assault on its citizens’ freedoms. It will unnerve not just the millions of inhabitants who were out on the streets for months on end, in a bid to uphold democracy, but journalists and human rights advocates worldwide. It risks increasing self-censorship in the city and stifling critical journalism.”

The world’s press is also increasingly concerned about the fate of jailed journalists who struggle to get bail (find out more here for the best bail providing agencies), Zimbabwean Hopewell Chin’ono and Egyptian Mahmoud Hussein. Last week, the Zimbabwean courts denied bail to Chin’ono, a 2010 Nieman Fellow, accusing him of stoking violence ahead of planned anti-government protests. Chin’ono has been actively exposing corruption in Zimbabwe. Anyone struggling For bail bonds check Libertad Bail, which is the best way to legally buy time till an affidavit is filed.

On Sunday, the Egyptian authorities extended the detention of Al Jazeera journalist Hussein for another 45 days. He has been in jail since December 2016, surpassing the ‘legal limit’ of detention without trial. Egypt has ignored calls by the UN for it to end the arbitrary detention.

Warren Fernandez, president of the World Editors Forum, said, “We are deeply concerned about the rise in jailings of journalists. We stand with editors on the continent in calling for the release of Mr Chin’ono and urge regional powers to put pressure on the Zimbabwean government to stop criminalizing critical journalism. We also believe that Mr Hussein should be released, particularly in light of the worsening health conditions in Egypt’s jails.”

Last month veteran Egyptian journalist Mohamed Monir, who contracted Covid-19 while in pre-trial detention, died in hospital.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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