Former lecturer and author of the city’s first English media law book Doreen Weisenhaus says the case of the missing booksellers is a clear sign things have changed and that courageous local journalists are key to moving ahead
Oct 11, 2017 (South China Morning Post) — Doreen Weisenhaus had a dream job as city editor at The New York Times in 1999 when Chan Yuen-ying, a former New York journalist, came knocking. Chan had been charged with setting up the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) first journalism programme and wanted Weisenhaus on the team. “What a lark, what an adventure,” she thought, presuming she would do it for just a year.
She arrived in 2000 with her journalist husband and two-year-old son. In her first week on the job, Hong Kong’s privacy commission released a report proposing onerous new privacy laws and fines of up to HK$1 million for anyone violating them. Weisenhaus contacted a top media law expert in the US and together they looked over the report. A few days later they submitted a response to the commission.
“Immediately it dawned on me this was an amazing place for [someone like me] – a journalist, lawyer and academic – because you were on the front row of history and you got to not only see, but to react and be involved,” says Weisenhaus, who ended up staying at HKU for 17 years.
More on her observations on media freedom and Hong Kong in full SCMP profile here.