Journalist John McBeth a Legend in Asia

Whanganui-born John McBeth, one of Asia’s pre-eminent journalists with a record of scrupulous and ground-breaking reporting, has died. He was 79. This obituary is published by The Diplomat.

“Over a career spanning more than 62 years McBeth’s reporting helped shape events in countries including South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia,” Luke Hunt writes.

“McBeth was a blunt-speaking ‘old-school’ reporter and author whose writings pulled no punches and influenced many of the region’s policymakers over decades.

“After spending time in Jakarta and Singapore, McBeth settled for many years in Thailand, where he worked for publications including the Bangkok Post, Agence France-Presse, United Press International, London’s Daily Telegraph, and the Hong Kong-based Asiaweek.

“He was one of the first Western journalists to uncover the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror in Cambodia, often arriving at the border to interview survivors after a long and arduous overnight bus journey from Bangkok. He revealed how Cambodian refugees, unable to cross into Thailand, were forced back into the Khmer Rouge’s minefields.

“He was a mentor and inspiration to many of the region’s journalists, particularly locals working for local publications, and railed against journalists whose writings failed to make clear what was fact and what was opinion.”

Original article by Luke Hunt, The Diplomat, December 7, 2023.

Tags: Diplomat (The)  John McBeth  

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