Asia’s annual defence symposium, the IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies) Shangri-La Dialogue, will be on this weekend, 31 May to 2 June 2019. Every bigshot, from military to analysts to media personnel will be there. Except, guess what, the British journalists who label themselves as ‘defence journalists’.
I started off this query on twitter with this tweet:
I guessed none of those tagged -I tagged major journalists from major news outlets like the Times, Sky News, BBC – bothered to answer but a great Malaysian defence journalist/analyst did. His reply:
and further replied
So there you have it: These major new companies do not see the value of sending their defence journalist to a conference which has extremely debated Asia-Pacific (or now Indo-Pacific) and even global defence issues. These journalists just happily report on the UK defence woes with respect to the Euro-Atlantic area or NATO, the Middle East, perhaps Africa, or across to the American continent. The Daily Telegraph is one of the exceptions (ore maybe the only one?), sending its China-based correspondent instead to #SLD19 (the hash tag for the conference).
Why it is expensive to travel to Singapore and book a hotel there. But wait, these aren’t your gap year or university undergraduate students travelling to see the culture of the region. They aren’t you low-paid workers suffering due to Brexit or pre-Brexit woes. These are, as the love to taunt on their twitter and mainstream media profiles, ‘defence journalists’. William Chong, IISS Asia’s Senior Fellow gave this argument:
and so did Dzirhan:
It may seem ironic since I tweeted it, but social media isn’t the main tool to broadcast a defence conference that has critically aided countries, think tanks and even journalists! for more than decade. In the current era of Global Britain, are these defence journalists presenting a real outward-looking UK or a Great Britain ingoring the ‘Far East’ (colonial term) as they did in the 1940s?
Side note: I also include wannabe young journalists who care more about tweeting ‘On this Day’ stuff on the Falklands, which when not wrong, is rather boring–and don’t you have undergraduate studies work to do?
Further note: There was a BBC journalist who is a “a regular guest on BBC1’s Question Time, Radio 4’s Any Questions, and Sky News” (no prizes in guessing who) who was at SLD16/17 (can’t recall which). She asked as question to then CDS ACM Stuart Peach. Bravo BBC.