Media vital for Asean integration in 2015

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BANGKOK: As the 10-member Association of Southeast Nations (Asean) continues on its long path toward the creation of a single economic community, the media in the region is also moving to create a regional network that would bring cooperation to a
higher level in raising awareness on and strengthening the Asean identity.

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Reports said that awareness among the 600 million people living in Asean countries about the single community and the changes it will bring is very low.

In his speech, Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) Director General Anothai Udomsilp underscored the role of media in the process of regional integration.

He noted that the Asean Community to be launched in 2015 would not be possible without the active participation of journalists and media workers within the grouping.

For that reason, Thai PBS, the first and only media here in Thailand, organized a forum for media practitioners, regulators and academicians in Asean member countries to meet and exchange views on “Media Ethics” being practiced in the region.

The workshop is organized in coordination with Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University and sponsored by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission of Thailand.

According to Udomsilp, Asean leaders had earlier adopted the Declaration of Asean Concord II to establish an Asean Community by 2020 comprising three pillars, namely political and security community, economic community, and socio-cultural community.

Creating an economic community will mark the start of free trade between the 10 member-countries. Products and services, among other things, will have a single market and production base. Labor, investments and capital will have a freer flow.

To help achieve this, Udomsilp noted that the media in the region are expected to play crucial roles in promoting Asean awareness and a sense of community.

“It is therefore important that those working in media sector in Asean have more chances to exchange views and experiences that contribute to their close cooperation for the benefit of the people and the region as a whole,” he said

“[With] this workshop, media professionals will deem it a good opportunity to acquaint themselves and create a network for their future cooperation, particularly when Asean becomes a single community and exchanges among Asean media are to be prompted,” Udomsilp added.

Asean was established on August 8, 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei, Myanmar (then Burma), Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam joined later, and Timor Leste and Papua New Guinea are observers.

Catherine S. Valente

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