ASEAN Press Convention 2005:
I.P.O. President underlines global role of Asian media
Bangkok, 8 August 2005/P/ST/19335c-is
In a keynote address on ''Information and Communication in a Multipolar World: The Role of the Asian Media," delivered at the opening day of the ASEAN Press Convention in Bangkok, Dr. Hans Koechler, President of the International Progress Organization, stated that a balanced flow of information between all countries and regions of the globe is essential for a dialogue of civilizations and global peace. He explained that the extreme imbalance of power relations at the global level has led to an ever increasing disparity in the field of information and communication, also undermining cultural diversity.
The President of the I.P.O. pointed to the quasi-monopoly of news organizations and satellite programs based in the industrialized world in most fields of international information. In reference to the Asian region, he said that domestic, regional and international events should not exclusively be reported as seen "through the eyes" of journalists from outside of the region. He particularly called upon journalists and media establishments in the countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), one of the economically most dynamic regions of the world, to make use of available resources and consider the establishment of an international media presence − not only for the coverage of domestic news to be broadcast to expatriates in the West, but for the coverage of international news as well. The decision about the "newsworthiness" of events should not be left to media establishments in the Western world alone; a balanced flow of information between the developing and industrialized world will advance peaceful co-existence between all nations and civilizations and strengthen international stability, the President of the I.P.O. explained.
In his inaugural address, Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand, said that the people deserve "to receive the most truthful, timely, and relevant news possible." He explained that the existence of a healthy and free press is in the interest of the peoples of the region and added that freedom of the press corresponds to the obligation towards impartiality in representing all points of view in a fair and balanced manner.
In his plenary address on the opening day of the Convention, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, former Foreign Minister of Thailand, emphasized the need of the media's independence from governmental control and said that leaders must be prepared to be criticized in order for a democratic society to emerge.
Upon conclusion of the ASEAN Press Convention, the President of the I.P.O., Dr. Hans Koechler, briefly met with the Foreign Minister of Thailand, Dr. Kantathi Suphamongkhon, who, in his address at the farewell dinner, took up the issue of a better balanced flow of information. The Thai Foreign Minister emphasized that the news about ASEAN countries should not only be presented as seen through the eyes of journalists from outside of the region and expressed the hope that the media in the respective countries will actively contribute to strengthening regional co-operation.
The President of the I.P.O. also held consultations with the Permanent Secretary of the Confederation of ASEAN Journalists, Mr. Abdul Razak (Indonesia). The two organizations agreed on co-operation in fields of mutual interest. Dr. Koechler further met with the member delegations from Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand and with the observer delegations from Cambodia, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.
The ASEAN Press Convention was held under the title "ASIAN News, ASEAN Views" and coincided with the 15th General Assembly of the Confederation of ASEAN Journalists (CAJ) held in Bangkok from 5 to 7 August 2005.
The General Assembly of the CAJ adopted the Bangkok Action Plan 2005-2007. In the declaration, the delegates express their deep concern over threats to press freedom in the region, in particular in regard to the “unabated killing of journalists in the Philippines and the media co-optation tactic used by the governments in some ASEAN countries.” Referring to the ethnic and religious conflicts throughout the region, the delegates urged the journalists “to be impartial and act in accordance with the highest standards of the code of ethics in promoting stability and peace.”
The Convention and General Assembly were hosted by the Confederation of Thai Journalists (CTJ) which will take over the presidency of the CAJ for a term of two years. Ms. Pusadee Keetaworranat, President of the CTJ, has been elected as President of the CAJ, succeeding Mr. Nguyen Hongh Vinh, President of the Vietnam Journalists Association.
END/ASEAN Press Convention/2005-08-08/P/ST/19335c-is