AAJA-Asia Launches News Diversity Research Report

Hong Kong, 6 April 2022 – The Asian American Journalists Association’s Asia Chapter (AAJA-Asia) today released its Advancing News Diversity in Asia (ANDA) Research Report. The first-of-its kind study provides a snapshot of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the region’s news media industry from an Asia perspective. The report’s insights will help to design tools and programs for advancing DEI in newsrooms and steering news coverage in Asia Pacific.

Based on focus group discussions, an industry-wide survey, interviews with newsroom executives and involving more than a thousand journalists, the research report offers a snapshot of the media environment in 2021 in seven Asian markets: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan.

Diversity supports quality news and advertising

Far from being imported concepts disconnected from the reality of Asia’s newsrooms, the ANDA survey reveals that diversity, equity and inclusion are perceived by Asia’s journalists as core journalism values. Nine out of 10  respondents agreed that diversity improves the quality of news. Two-thirds of journalists agreed that diversity helps attract advertisers.

“For the first time, the report gives voice to the experiences and perspectives of journalists in Asia on diversity, equity and inclusion – and there’s a lot to take away from it,’’ said K. Oanh Ha, president of AAJA’s Asia chapter. “The report tells us that diversity must be approached in Asia with a different lens than in the U.S. and Western countries. And while the snapshot of DEI progress in the region is encouraging, more work is needed to strengthen and support diversity in Asia’s news media industry.”

DEI indicators and talent retention are connected

Supported by the Meta Journalism Project, the ANDA research report also establishes that job satisfaction and talent retention are closely linked to DEI indicators: Journalists who said they planned to remain in their news organizations for as long as they could rated their news organizations higher in diversity, equity and inclusion.

“These findings show how important it is for journalists and the industry to build DEI into leadership planning and culture,’’ said Anjali Kapoor, Director of News Partnerships for Meta APAC. “Our partnership with AAJA-Asia is part of our commitment to help the region’s news industry create more inclusive coverage and support a news community that is as diverse as the communities we serve at Meta.’’

Diversity priorities differ in each market

There were notable differences on the diversity priorities in each market surveyed. Across the region, socioeconomic status and gender came up as the two top issues that journalists considered the most important for the news media to focus on, while ethnicity and religion were prioritized lower.

The ANDA reports also shows that discrimination persists. Survey respondents indicated that sexual harassment against women journalists and trolling on social media are key issues the news media industry must address.

Across the region 56% of women journalists in the survey reported receiving sexist remarks or sexual innuendos at their news outlet, while 41% of them said they had received unwanted physical contact from sources or newsmakers. Meanwhile, 76%  reported receiving derogatory comments on social media.

“In the ANDA’s project next stage, we will mobilize this study’s findings to develop tailored tools and initiatives with industry partners to further support Asia’s journalists and newsrooms,’’ said Gilles Demptos, AAJA’s director for Asia-Pacific. “We will announce these initiatives at AAJA-Asia’s annual New.Now.Next conference (N3Con) in Singapore on 27-30 July.”

The ANDA Research Report is available for free download here.

For more information about the ANDA project, please write to asia@aaja.org

About AAJA-Asia
The Asia chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA-Asia) represents members across the Asia-Pacific region. It is a diverse, multi-ethnic community of local and international journalists and media professionals committed to supporting a vibrant press in the Asia-Pacific region. We are committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in media organizations, providing training opportunities to members, supporting students interested in journalism and advocating for fair media access.

AAJA is a nonprofit educational and professional organization with more than 1,500 members across the U.S. and Asia.

Launched in August 2021 with the support of the Meta Journalism Project and media partners across Asia-Pacific, ANDA aims to raise awareness and support efforts to improve diversity and representation in newsrooms and coverage throughout Asia.

About the Meta Journalism Project
The Meta Journalism Project works with publishers around the world to strengthen the connection between journalists and the communities they serve. It also helps address the news industry’s core business challenges through trainings, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit facebook.com/journalismproject. If you wish to get updates from the Meta Journalism Project, subscribe via this link.