Expelled reporters leave China after headline row

Wall Street Journal reporters Josh Chin (R) and Philip Wen were expelled over a controversial headline in an op-ed that angered Beijing. (AFP)
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Updated 24 February 2020

Expelled reporters leave China after headline row

  • The journalists work for the WSJ’s news section, which is not linked to the editorial and opinion pages

Two Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporters left China on Monday after being expelled over a controversial headline in an op-ed that angered Beijing.

Three reporters were ordered out of the country last week over what Beijing deemed a racist headline that the journalists were not involved in writing — marking one of the harshest moves against foreign media in years.

But analysts noted that the decision to revoke their credentials came a day after Washington tightened rules on Chinese state media operating in the US — raising suspicion that Beijing had retaliated.

The WSJ opinion piece — headlined “China is the Real Sick Man of Asia” — was written by a US professor who criticized the Chinese government’s initial response to the coronavirus outbreak.

China’s foreign ministry said it was “racially discriminatory,” and as the newspaper wouldn’t apologize, the three reporters had their press cards revoked.

Deputy bureau chief Josh Chin and reporter Chao Deng, both US nationals, as well as reporter Philip Wen, an Australian, were given five days to leave the country, according to the Journal.

The journalists work for the WSJ’s news section, which is not linked to the editorial and opinion pages.

Decoder

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A letter from 53 WSJ reporters and editors called for the newspaper’s leadership to apologize, according to reports in the Washington Post, saying the headline was “derogatory.”

An AFP reporter saw Chin and Wen, wearing face masks, check in for their flight at Beijing’s main international airport and then pass through security.

Deng, the third journalist affected, had been reporting from Wuhan — the epicenter of the virus outbreak which has killed over 2,500 people.

The WSJ confirmed that she was still in the quarantined city.

The newspaper’s publisher said the outlet was “deeply disappointed” with China’s decision and that none of the journalists being expelled had “any involvement” with the opinion piece in question.

Decoder

Sick man of Asia

The phrase “sick man of Asia” originally referred to China in the late 19th and early 20th century, when it was exploited by foreign powers during a period sometimes called the country’s “century of humiliation.”


Publicis Groupe veteran Kamal Dimachkie leaves as new successor is named

Updated 20 October 2020

Publicis Groupe veteran Kamal Dimachkie leaves as new successor is named

  • Dimachkie’s career spans three decades of leadership and accomplishment in international and regional markets
  • Shoueiry founded the agency’s Social Content Lab and played a key role in cultivating digital design thinking across the region

RIYADH: Publicis Groupe MEA today announced the departure of Kamal Dimachkie, chief operating officer, Publicis Communications, UAE and Lower Gulf. Dimachkie is a senior executive who joined Leo Burnett in February 1985. The company has appointed Samer Shoueiry to assume the role in conjunction with his current responsibilities as chief digital officer, Publicis Communications, Middle East from Dec. 1. Dimachkie’s decision to leave comes after 33 years with the company. He will leave his current position on Dec. 31 and continue to act in a consultative capacity until June 2021 in order to ensure a smooth transition.

Dimachkie’s career spans three decades of leadership and accomplishment in international and regional markets including the US, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE.

Raja Trad, executive chairman at Publicis Groupe MEA said: “I respect Kamal’s decision. He has been a friend and a colleague for over three decades, and not just I but the entire Publicis Groupe family will miss him. His tenure at the Groupe has been characterized by a clear commitment to values that are central to our philosophy. Kamal’s adept leadership propelled the agency to new heights — we won more than 250 accolades and added numerous international and local clients to our roster. I want to thank him for his immeasurable contribution to the Groupe and wish him all the best for his professional future.”

Dimachkie added: “Leo Burnett and Publicis Groupe have been my life for the past 33 years, and I am proud to have been a part of a glorious journey during which I have had the opportunity to serve the company in different roles in six countries, to have contributed to numerous clients and raised the bar internally and within the industry. Part of this has been the joy of working with a wonderful team and leadership, whom I have partnered with, learnt from and shall forever call my friends and brothers in arms. I am grateful to have lived the glory days of advertising with one of the best agencies in the world and to have worked with some of the most inspiring and creative people. I look forward to working with Samer on the upcoming transition and wish him success in his new role.”

Shoueiry, who will take on Dimachkie’s role, has over 21 years of experience across business, design and innovation. He has consistently delivered a robust performance in Publicis’ Experience Design and Experience Strategy, founded the agency’s Social Content Lab and played a key role in cultivating digital design thinking across the region.

Commenting on his appointment, Trad said: “Samer has a record of leadership and value creation, deep experience in generating groundbreaking brand experiences, as well as a focus on strategic design, innovation excellence and a strong technological footing. I look forward to continuing to work closely with him to drive our digital transformation in the region and support the spread of innovation through investments in our people, technology, platforms and tools. Together, we will ensure that we continue to move our business forward in the Connected Age through a data-led, digital-first approach.”

Shoueiry further added: “Kamal has built a strong foundation for future growth, including strengthening our team and expanding our scope of work. The current climate has accelerated digital transformation globally, and we are looking at a future where online and offline coexist to augment consumer experience in an interconnected brand universe. E-commerce is a necessity, digital equities are your flagship stores, search and social your new outdoor. With this new beginning, I will focus on further strengthening our creative strategy-to-results development to offer the best consumer-centric experiences and build brand value.”