AIPS Vice President, Evelyn Watta, being honoured at the ongoing 21st AIPS Asia Congress. (Photo by SSMF)
by Prarthna Hazarika, AIPS AsiaJEDDAH, September 23, 2018 - The first day of the 21st AIPS Asia Congress began with a panel discussion on New Media, Future of Sports Journalism and Challenges. The participants of the discussion were; AIPS President Gianni Merlo, Dr. Turki Alwad of the Saudi Sports Media Federation, David Walker - a senior journalist from the United Kingdom, and President of the Korean Sports Media Association Hee Don Jung. Vice President of AIPS Ahmed Isa Khawari moderated the panel. Professional coverage Dr. Alwad started off by saying that new media manipulates conventional media. He however opined that the focus should be on its content. Alwad went on to emphasize on the need for professional coverage because according to him, content plays a vital role in reaching out to regional, national and international viewers.Fake news Meanwhile Merlo reiterated the fact that fake news is destroying the credibility of a news item. He highlighted the need for thorough study and research so that professionalism is reflected in the news item adding that social media is a social problem.Walker cited an interesting example of how young journalism students are dependent on new media rather than conventional media. He then explained how powerful the media is and how it can bring out the story behind a story. A coin In his contribution to the panel discussion, Jung said new media is two sides of a coin. Then he disclosed some of the personal experiences and challenges he has faced as a sports journalist. Women The second panel of the day discussed the future of women sports journalists, new media and challenges. The panelists were; Evelyn Watta (Kenya), Hazarika Prarthana (India), Hai Lun Chi (Chinese Taipei), Hibba Sibagh (Jordan), Hana Alwani (Saudi Arabia). Dima Muhammad from Jordan moderated the discussion. After the panelists introduced themselves, they were asked about the challenges women sports journalists face. The panelists all shared their success stories and appealed to AIPS to help in encouraging more women to take up sports journalism so they can make a mark of their own. Watta stressed the need for women to join hands together and move forward in their career. Hai Lun Chi from Chinese Taipai said focus has been key in her career as a sports journalist. Prarthana Hazarika from India spoke about how she fought criticisms to emerge as a fearless and confident sports broadcaster and commentator. Hana Alwani, the first Saudi woman sports journalist, spoke of how she can now drive her car and go out to report and file her story. She is happy with how things have eventually changed for a women sports journalists.