Dr. Guo Ke (left) of Shanghai International Studies University accepts the responsibility of hosting the triennial World Journalism Education Congress come 2022 on behalf of the Chinese delegation. He said Chinese journalism educators are "willing to interact with others" from the rest of the world.
Jeremaiah Opiniano
China soon to host global meet on journalism
Jeremaiah Opiniano (Philstar.com) - July 12, 2019 - 11:11am

PARIS — Journalism that usually fits in democracies will come to China in 2022 when the economic giant hosts a triennial global congress of journalism educators.

Journalism schools from Beijing and Shanghai will co-host the Sixth World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC), which just held its fifth congress in Paris. 

The China WJEC will be held on July 8 to 13, 2022.

Verica Rupar, the newly-elected chair of the World Journalism Education Council, bared the winning Chinese bid at the close the fifth edition of the congress--with ease and with a smile. 

"Many thanks to the council for (voting us), including the good questions and comments," replied Guo Ke of Shanghai International Studies University. This dean of SISU's journalism and communication school will be the head co-organizer of the event together with Gao Xiaohong of the Communication University of China.

"The Chinese journalism educators' circle is willing to interact with others," Guo told the fifth congress' assembly.

The Fifth WJEC was held July 9 to 11 at Universite Paris Dauphine, just outside of downtown Paris. Come 2022, it is still unclear if the congress will be in either or in both Shanghai and/or Beijing.

Prior to Rupar's announcement, the bid document of China was quietly circulated and some educators were surprised with it. And during the early moments of the closing ceremony, with the winning bidder yet to be announced, a Powerpoint slide was inadvertently shown at the left side of the main venue. 

That slide bared the theme of China's WJEC, "Change and continuity: Journalism education in the digital era."

At the end of Guo's remarks, a slide showed Chinese characters symbolizing fireworks, which are the Chinese characters of Beijing and Shanghai.

Polite claps from an audience of around 200 followed, although some educators were seen to stay still and look at the next person beside.

The Chinese bid was chosen by WJEC--the council--during a bid presentation held July 8. 

The triennial congress features teaching methods and journalism issues that practitioners, academics and researchers discuss. Presentations and papers reveal facets of journalism methods, tools and issues that happen in full and emerging democracies, such as fake news and news audiences hostile at news reportage.

Those were the sessions that some 13 journalism professors and students from mainland China listened to. (Only two mainland Chinese professors made paper presentations.)

The People's Republic of China is known for having a controlled press, as well as blocking popular websites and social media platforms that users from the rest of the world access. 

China is ranked 177th in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF).

"Is this hosting of the 2022 WJEC their (Chinese's) way of deodorizing the absence of press freedom in their country?" asked an Asian attendee who may skip the event.

However, some congress attendees minced no words in saying they'll go to China.

Yes I will go, says a lady communication professor from northern Africa, "because I am curious to discover the country and its journalism."

Her compatriot, a media researcher, agreed: "I love Chinese food and I previously learned Mandarin there."

The congress had been held in Singapore (2007), South Africa (2010), Belgium (2013) and New Zealand (2016). WJEC serves to bring educators together to improve journalism training and instruction worldwide.

A male African delegate isn't afraid of observations on suppression of free speech when the congress goes to China. "China has nothing to do with scholars going there to talk about journalism."

A delegate from the Oceania region wanted would-be attendees to play chill. "Yes I will go amid the observations on China," he said. 

And understanding the nature of these triennial congresses, he said China "must not be isolated. Bring them into the discussion, and yet we will ask the hard questions."

"Do not leave the enemy alone."

 

Jeremaiah Opiniano teaches journalism at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila.

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