) was an English language Asian news magazine started in 1946. It printed its final issue in December 2009.The Hong Kongbased business magazine was originally published weekly. Due to financial difficulties, the magazine converted to a monthly publication in December 2004, and simultaneously switched to an arrangement whereby most articles were contributed by nonstaff writers who had expertise in a given field, such as economists, business-community figures, government policymakers, social scientists, and others.
FEERcovered a variety of topics including politics, business, economics, technology, and social and cultural issues throughout Asia, focusing on Southeast Asia andGreater China.
FEERwas set up in 1946 with seed capital provided by theKadooriesJardinesand theHong Kong Bank. TheSouth China Morning Post, an English-language newspaper based in Hong Kong, had majority ownership of theReviewfrom 1972.2In 1986Dow Jones, a minority shareholder since 1973, took over full ownership in a deal withRupert MurdochNews Corp., which had acquired a controlling interest in thePost. News Corp bought Dow Jones in 2007.3
FEERtargeted markets in Hong Kong,Malaysia, andSoutheast Asia. It reached an elite group of readers from the government, the business world and the academic sector. The magazine had a circulation of 93,055 in 2003. In September 2006, the magazine was banned in Singapore.4
TheFar Eastern Economic Reviewwas started in 1946 byEric Halpern, aJewishimmigrant fromVienna, who initially settled in Shanghai and ranFinance and Commerce, a biweekly business magazine. Later on, when China was in the midst of theChinese Civil War, he decamped to Hong Kong and founded the weekly publication,FEER, focusing on finance, commerce, and industry.citation needed
After Halperns retirement in 1958, Dick Wilson became chief editor and publisher. He operated an office in a colonial building along the waterfront where theMandarin Hotelnow stands. During Wilsons tenure, coverage of the magazine extended from China and Hong Kong into other regions around the world, from Japan to Australia toIndiaand to thePhilippines.citation needed
In 1964 Wilson was succeeded as editor by Derek Davies, a Welsh journalist, who had served in theBritish Foreign Office. Between 1964 and 1989, the flamboyant Davies built FEER from a small weekly into one of Asias most authoritative magazines, with a circulation of nearly 90,000. At its peak, FEER had an editorial team of nearly 100 news staff in 15 bureaus across Asiathe largest news team of any regional weekly.25
After serving 25 years as senior editor, Davies was succeeded by Philip Bowring. In 1992 Bowring was forced to resign owing to differences with Dow Joness vice presidentKaren Elliott Houseover the magazines editorial direction.
In November 2001 Dow Jones merged the editorial operations of theFar Eastern Economic Reviewand theAsian Wall Street Journalin an attempt to cut costs. In 2004 the magazine ceased to exist as a weekly and was changed to a monthly publication with Hugo Restall as its editor. In September 2009 Dow Jones, now a subsidiary of Murdochs News Corp, announced that the magazine would be shut down permanently.6
An account of the closure of FEER is detailed byJohn McBethin a chapter called Death of a Magazine in his book entitledReporter. Forty Years Covering Asia.
The magazine ceased publication in December 2009 owing to falling readership and advertising revenue.7This was the reason given by its owner, Dow Jones. But insiders cite other reasons. Every ex-Reviewstaffer knows that its days were numbered the day Dow Jones bought it. TheAsian Wall Street Journalnever enjoyed the kind of readership and readers loyalty as that of theReview. And it wasnt a secret that the Americans wanted the AWSJ to supplant theReview.8Philip Bowring pins the blame for theReviews decline on Dow Jones. He says that its executives parachuted in from New York and wanted to homogenize the reporting. But according to Banyan, despite Dow Joness missteps,FEERs business model was based on advertising revenue that floundered when prosperity declined.9
The decision to cease publication of theReviewis a difficult one made after a careful study of the magazines prospects in a challenging business climate, said Todd Larsen, chief operating officer at Dow Jones Consumer Media Group. In 2004 Dow Jones fired most of FEERs reporters and transformed it into a monthly publication. Articles were largely commissioned, and only a skeleton editorial staff was retained. David Plott, FEERs editor at the time, described the upheaval in 2004 as a loss of one of the greatest concentrations of knowledge and expertise about the region assembled anywhere.10
Dow Jones proclaimed the savings from the death ofFEERwill catapult the companys growth in the burgeoning Asian marketplace. In response, J. Manthorpe commented, As the FEER has been in a vegetative state since at least 2004 when it was made a monthly instead of weekly magazine and its staff was cut from 80 to five, only two of whom are journalists, it is hard to imagine the proceeds of closure catapulting anything anywhere.11
Dow Joness marketing people didnt know how to sell it as it competed with theAsian Wall Street Journalthey ignored it and killed it by sheer neglect, said V.G. Kulkarni, a former editor at the Review.12
Prior to the formal closure in 2009,FEERdied many deaths: in 1992 when Bowring was forced to resign as editor; in 2001 when it was merged with theAsian Wall Street Journal; in 2004 when it ceased as a weekly and was published as a monthly after being downsized to a staff of two. The death of theReviewcame by a thousand cuts inflicted primarily byKaren House, said Bowring in 2004: A succession of failed makeovers and revolving editors; thedumbing downof the magazine in an effort to make it more readable; moving away from hard-hitting, controversial coverage of corporate and financial scandals; a shift from in-depth coverage of business and politics to soft-centerd features of the sort that appear in airline magazines.
The final insult to the Review, and indeed to Asia, was Dow Jones refusal to sell the title. It has had plenty of offerswhich would benefit its own shareholders, says Bowring, There is a parallel here between Time andAsiaweek. Time bought locally bornAsiaweekeven though it appeared to be in direct competition for readers and advertising. Not so long afterwards, Time closedAsiaweekrather than its ailingTime Asia. It was corporate imperialism more than commercial sense which brought Dow Jones to buy control of theReview, which was a direct competitor for niche regional advertising. It is clear that the closure of theReview, as ofAsiaweek, represents an attack on diversity and further reduction in the variety of print media.13
The magazine lost its way because people in New York thought they understood what the readers wanted more than those who were on the ground in Asia, wrote Bowring in theSouth China Morning Post.5Bowring claims that Ms. House infusedFEERs editorials with the right wing and furiously pro-western sentiments ofThe Wall Street Journal.2
Under its previous editor, Derek Davies, theReviewhad carved a name for itself for the excellence of its economic reporting, its refusal to be cowed and its wide-ranging book reviews. When Dow Jones took over theReviewit introduced pompous editorials; indulged in numerous revisions to the format, each more disastrous than the last; brought in large numbers of American journalists and editors at the expense of well-established writers who knew the region; moved the focus from business and politics to innovation and lifestyle, neither of which was of interest to its core readership; and dramatically reduced the scope of the book review section.14When Dow Jones took control of the magazine, efforts to introduce more lifestyle features sparked protests from Review loyalistsas did its decision to make it into a monthly rather than a weekly title.15
I dont think Dow Jones ever understood what our culture was and they never really put in the effort to make the magazine succeed, said McBeth, who joined the magazine in 1979. Dow Jones turned it into a snappy, happy, trend-conscious delight for the Internet age. It was a failed effort to lure readers who presumably dont care about thoughtful coverage of politics and economics but do want to know which wine goes with which chili pepper. The reporting staffs of theReviewand theAsian Wall Street Journalwere merged in 2001. More significantly, at that time the ad sales staffs of the two publications were also merged. Two senior correspondents said they had frequently been asked by executives at Asian corporations they covered why the magazines advertising staff were hard to reach and would often not return phone calls. There was no effort put in, said one. They didnt even try.16
T. J. S. George, co-founder ofAsiaweek, says, In due course, Time Inc. killedAsiaweekand Dow Jones (now aMurdochproperty) killed theReview. MurdochDowsWall Street Journaland Time Inc.sTimemagazine now fly the American flag over Asia, unchallenged by lesser flags.17
Besides qualified business reports,FEERwas also the pioneer of independent journalistic establishments throughout Asia. Many of the articles from the first few decades were exclusive sources of information on the development of China, such as the reports on ChairmanMao Zedong, theCultural Revolution, and the economic opening initiated byDeng Xiaoping.
For the first issue, the inaugurator, Halpern, declared a brief but enduring Editorial Statement:
The purpose of this weekly economic publication is to analyse and interpret financial, commercial and industrial developments; to collect economic news; and to present views and opinions with the intent to improve existing conditions. Politics and economics being connatural, it will be inevitable that this publication may at times appear to transgress its primary objective by reporting on, and dealing with, political affairs. At any time and in every case unbiased and dispassionate, factual and balanced reporting will be our aim and policy.
The Review aimed to report and analyse financial, commercial, and industrial developments in the Southeast Asia and Pacific regions with specific emphasis on Hong Kong and China. It gathered the most incisive and provocative commentary in Asia through leaders from every ideological stripe, background, and profession. Articles were selected according to their potential progress toward prosperity, security, and well-being for all Asians. Besides free-lance contributions and viewpoints from professionals,FEERs journalists also traveled around the region reporting from their own perspective with the intention of improving the local economic and political zone.citation needed
Chinas Elite18was a yearly side-publication by theFEER. Focusing on Chinas leading executives and their way of business, Chinas Elite was often praised as a valuable source of information on statistics, expectations, and objective analysis obtained through in-depth interviews with leading businessmen in Beijing, Shanghai, andGuangzhou.
The Review 20019was a tied publication by theFar Eastern Economic Reviewthat ranked the top 200 leading businesses across Asia on an annual basis.
Published every two years since 1989 byFEER, Managing in Asia20provided entrepreneurs with a clear description and explanation of Asias business position. The report offered valuable information in the aspects of economic outlook, business challenges and economic issues, personal investment, technology/office automation, brand perception, ownership of products, travel habits, etc.
The Asia Lifestyles21was published in alternating years. It conducted surveys on business executives and questioned their lifestyles, habits, and aspirations.
FEERregularly published special reports focused on topics that were relevant and significant to Asia. For example, a special report on the HIV?AIDS epidemic22was published in its 15 July 2004 issue.
FEERregularly interviewed government officials and other important people who had an impact in the region and the business world. In the past,FEERhas interviewedColin Powell, the U.S. former secretary of state (issue date: 28 October 2004);Kofi Annan, the secretary-general of United Nations (issue date: 22 July 2004);Chen Shui-bian, the Taiwanese president (issue date: 24 July 2003);Bill Gates, chairman and co-founder of Microsoft (issue date: 14 March 2002); and many more influential people.
In 2002 and 2003FEERwas awarded the Excellence in Specialized Reporting by the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA). In 2004 it was awarded the Honourable Mention for Magazine Front Cover Design by SOPA. In 2005 it was awarded the Excellence in Magazines and Honorable Mention for Reporting on the Environment by the SOPA.
In late 1970sHo Kwon Ping, theReviews Singapore correspondent, was accused of endangering national security, jailed under theInternal Security Act, did a televised confession, and was fined $3,000.232425Lee Kuan Yewlater chargedFEEReditor, Derek Davies, of participating in a diabolical international Communist plot to poison relations between Singapore and neighboring Malaysia.
In 1987 Lee restricted sale of theReviewin Singapore after it published an article about thedetention of Roman Catholic church workers, reducing circulation of the magazine from 9,000 to 500 copies,26on the grounds that it was interfering in the domestic politics of Singapore.27The 4 April 2002 issue ofFEERwas banned in Bangladesh because its cover story, Bangladesh: Cocoon of Terror, described the country as besieged by Islamic fundamentalism, religious intolerance, militant Muslim groups with links to international terrorist groups.28
In China theReviews correspondent, Serge Ivanovitch Kost, was arrested during theCultural Revolutionand sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. He later emigrated to Australia.
In 2006, after the publication of an article of an interview withChee Soon Juan, party leader of theSingapore Democratic Party,29on Singapores prime ministerLee Hsien Loongand his father and minister mentor,Lee Kuan Yew, Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong both sued the publication for defamation, alleging the magazine had suggested they were corrupt. TheSingapore governmentbanned the sale and distribution of the journal. In 2007, during the International Bar Associations Rule of Law symposium, then-deputy prime ministerS. Jayakumarstates that FEER did not satisfy regulations for foreign publications in Singapore such as appointing a representative to accept service of any notice or legal process, and submitting a security deposit. The lack of compliance to the regulations led to FEER not being able to circulate its publication in Singapore and was not due to the legal suit.30
On 24 September 2008, theHigh Court of Singapore, in asummary judgmentby, ruled that theFar Eastern Economic Reviewand Hugo Restall, its editor, defamed Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in its October 2006 article Singapores Martyr, Chee Soon Juan.29FEER appealed31but lost the case when the Court of Appeal ruled in October 2009 that theFar Eastern Economic Reviewdid defame the countrys founder Lee Kuan Yew and his son Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.32
The Young Inventors Awards (YIA), which began in 2000, was organized byFEERin association withHewlett-Packard(HP). The purpose of the Awards program was to foster a spirit of scientific invention and innovation among students in the AsiaPacific regions, including China,Philippines, Singapore,India, and Australia. Students who won the award were socially recognized and financially supported for their outstanding efforts and projects.FEERs annual Asian Innovation Awards was associated with Global Entrepolise @ Singapore, which honored Asias emerging technopreneur.
Far Eastern Economic Review to shut after 63 years.
Shira Ovide (23 September 2009).Dow Jones Plans to Close Down Far Eastern Economic Review.
BBC NEWS – Asia-Pacific – Editor defamed Singapore leader.
Asia Times Online – News from greater China; Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Stephen Brook.Far Eastern Economic Review to close.
Archived copy. Archived fromthe originalon 7 November 2012
BBC NEWS – Asia-Pacific – Leading Asian magazine to close.
Archived copy. Archived fromthe originalon 27 August 2008
TJS George,Hail the all-American world!, 4 October 2009
Archived copy. Archived fromthe originalon 17 October 2005
Archived copy. Archived fromthe originalon 17 October 2005
Archived copy. Archived fromthe originalon 17 October 2005
Archived copy. Archived fromthe originalon 14 October 2005
Far Eastern Economic Review Publishes Special Report on HIV/AIDS.
Times, David A. Andelman Special To The New York (9 April 1977).Singapore Pushing a Stern Drive To Silence Critics and Dissidents.
The Singaporean who was jailed by, and who later had many meals (and tea) with, Lee Kuan Yew.
The New Communications Landscape: Demystifying Media Globalization
, Anura Goonasekera, Jan Servaes, Georgette Wang, Routledge, 2003, page 273
Circulation Of Foreign Newspapers In SingaporeMinistry of Communications and Information, 3 August 2006
Bangladesh: Government bans Far Eastern Economic Review.
Hugo Restall.Singapores Martyr, Chee Soon Juan. FEER
Chee tried to turn forum into theatre of politics, says Jaya.
BBC News – Singapore backs Lee in media case.
Articles with dead external links from December 2017
Articles with permanently dead external links
Articles containing simplified Chinese-language text
Articles containing traditional Chinese-language text
Articles with unsourced statements from November 2009
This page was last edited on 19 September 2019, at 19:05