ANG SAN MEI. HONG KONG. The Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA), an organisation dedicated to best practices in professional publishing, presented 102 awards for outstanding journalism at its annual SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence gala dinner at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre tonight.
More than 280 media executives, editors, journalists and industry affiliates from across the Asia Pacific region attended the event. Tara Joseph from Reuters was the master of ceremonies.
This year’s event featured Mr. Ma Ying-jeou, Taiwan’s former president, who made a keynote address via video from Taipei on cross-strait relations and other regional issues.
Mr. Jahabar Sadiq, former chief executive and editor of news site, The Malaysian Insider, also addressed the gathering, giving a first-hand account of grappling with tightening limits on press freedom in Malaysia.
This year, the SOPA Awards received a record number of entries from across Asia competing in 18 categories in English and Chinese.
The lists of finalists and winners are at: http://www.sopawards.com/news-room/
A panel of more than 100 judges from around the world evaluated the submissions. The judging panel, including journalists, editors, columnists from leading publications and academics from university media departments, was led by Head of Judges, Jeffrey Timmermans, an associate professor of practice at Journalism and Media Studies Centre (JMSC) and director of its undergraduate journalism program. The deputy head of judges was Dr. King-wa Fu, an associate professor at JMSC, The University of Hong Kong.
“Thank you to all who participated in this year’s event with such high quality submissions, which helped make the SOPA 2016 Awards a big success. Congratulations to all the winners,” said S.K. Witcher, chair of the SOPA Editorial Committee. “Also, a big thanks to our keynote speaker, Mr. Ma Ying-jeou, and to our speaker from the media industry Mr. Jahabar Sadiq, for joining us tonight.”
Raymond Warhola, Chairman of SOPA, said, “The SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence are widely recognized as the gold standard for outstanding journalism in Asia. The record number of entries received this year from across the region reflects the value that publishers and editors increasingly place on the SOPA Award.”
“SOPA is also pleased to welcome Ms. Ying Chan as an Honorary Member into our association. An award-winning journalist, Ms. Chan’s induction reaffirms SOPA’s unwavering commitment to the principles of journalistic quality and integrity.” From 1999 to 2016, Ms. Chan also served as the founding director of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at The University of Hong Kong.
For the second year in a row, SOPA organised media tours at Bloomberg and Google on the same day as the gala dinner. Google hosted a breakfast networking and workshop event, and Bloomberg provided a media tour in the afternoon.
The SOPA 2016 Awards for Editorial Excellence are supported by Invest Hong Kong (Platinum Sponsor) and Google (Gold Sponsor). CatchOn is the public relations partner, Media OutReach is the newswire partner and High Technology Printing Group Limited is the printing partner.
The Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) was founded in 1982 to champion freedom of the press, promote excellence in journalism and endorse best practices for all local and regional publishing platforms in the Asia Pacific region. SOPA is a not-for-profit organization based in Hong Kong and represents global, regional and local media companies across Asia. The Society of Publishers in Asia is also host to the annual SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence, which serve as a world-class benchmark for quality journalism in the region. www.sopasia.com