Asia Sentinel is a web-based Asian regional publication focused on news, business, arts and culture. The site was launched in August 2006.
"Asia Sentinel was created to provide a platform for news, analysis and opinion on national and regional issues in Asia. It is independent of all governments and major media enterprises. It is open to contributions not only from journalists but from professionals in fields such as finance, diplomacy, science and the arts. It has no ideology other than a belief in the benefits of a free media. It will not publish editorials but give free rein to diverse opinions," says the founders' statement on the site.
Headquartered in Hong Kong, it was founded by four senior expatriate journalists with long experience in the region. The editor, John Berthelsen, is a former correspondent with The Wall Street Journal Asia who was also the Managing Editor of The Standard in Hong Kong. Consulting Editor Philip Bowring is the former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review and a former columnist for the International Herald Tribune. Executive Editor A. Lin Neumann, the former Executive Editor of The Standard, also represented the Committee to Protect Journalists in Asia for many years. The fourth founder, Anthony Spaeth, is a former Time Asia regional correspondent who left Asia Sentinel shortly after its founding to go to work for Bloomberg.
Kevin Phillips, the International Business Director, was formerly Head of Equities in Hong Kong and Tokyo for Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, the investment bank.
Response to shrinking Asia coverage
The site is a response to the shrinking coverage of Asia in regional western-owned publications, notably Asiaweek, which was shut down by Time Inc. in 2002; and the Far Eastern Economic Review, which went from being a weekly news magazine to a monthly journal when Dow Jones & Co. was cutting costs in 2004.
The correspondents for the site are drawn from journalists around the region and the site says it is always looking for contributors.
The site has delivered strong coverage of Hong Kong, with a series of stories on the power structure and tycoon-friendly development policies of the territory; Singapore, with a series on the authoritarian rule of the city-state; and Thailand, as it has published stories probing the role of the Thai king in political events, a subject often off limits to mainstream journalists due to the country's lèse majesté laws.
The site also carries reader comments with each story and some threads — for instance about racial politics in Malaysia — have grown into spirited, months-long debates kicked off by an article or series of articles.
Asia Sentinel articles also appear in the Asian Correspondent.