Waiting for ASEAN Press Council

One of the initiators is Kavi Chongkittavorn.

INDONESIA

Senin, 20 Okt 2014 15:27 WIB

Author

Citra Prastuti

Waiting for ASEAN Press Council

ASEAN, press, democracy, Kavi Chongkittavorn, Citra Prastuti

The first Regional Press Council for the nations that make up the association of south-east nations or ASEAN will be formed.

One of the initiators is Kavi Chongkittavorn. He is the former chair of the Southeast Asian Press Aliance (SEAPA) and also a honorary member of the National Press Council of Thailand.

He tells Citra Prastuti that the media needs to be much more involved in the forming a closer ASEAN Community.

 
“ASEAN community is only focused on economic, political security, social and culture. And I think they have missed out the media community. Without active media participation to create awareness and a sense of connectedness among us, the ASEAN community will not be sustainable. That’s the point. For example, how many Indonesian newspapers write about ASEAN? Of course Indonesian journalists write about Indonesia losing out in terms of ASEAN economic integration. That’s the only thing. So you only focus on the bilateral relationships within ASEAN. You do not look at ASEAN as a whole entity, as part of a bigger community. Indonesia is in a position to do more than any other country because democracy has been strengthened here in Indonesia. It’s no longer the slowest.”

“During the Soeharto era, if Indonesia said ‘no’, then that’s it. And now Indonesia suddenly goes ‘I want to do this, I want to do that’. In 2003, Indonesia proposed the writing of the ASEAN Charter. What Indonesia wants, Indonesia can push for. So you have ASEAN security pillar, community. That is the positive. Now Indonesia is moving, so it’s very important for the media to be involved.”

“So now we’re setting up the ASEAN Press Council with cooperation from the Indonesia’s Press Council and the Thailand Press Council. We are drawing things groups together because at the moment they don’t care about each other.”

Q. What is the target?

“Media will be strengthened and they will play the role of promoting an ASEAN identity, awareness of ASEAN and ASEAN integration. We start out with a very low ambition, objective, to get all the media councils in ASEAN together. But some countries don’t have a Press Council, such as Brunei and Singapore. Singapore doesn’t have anything, because it’s a perfect country… I’m kidding.”

“Indonesia is a work in progress, a model for ASEAN. So it would start as Indonesia and Thailand and grow from there.”

“Media culture in Indonesia before 1998, you couldn’t write anything, but suddenly it’s changed. Look at Myanmar, so peer pressure is very important. When ASEAN becomes one community, it will become more equitable in their shared norms and values. That’s for me is important. Some of our friends don’t realize that.”

“I think for media in the future, with a better cooperation then there will be more exchange. Now you don’t write much about Thailand, much of the news comes from the wire. Everybody use Reuters to learn about each other and sometimes they’re wrong and make mistaken analysis.”

“They don’t care much, we need the local media. That’s why local media must write a lot about ASEAN.”

“Because an issue in one ASEAN country impacts other ASEAN countries; like the forest haze and migrant workers. So you can’t write in isolation. Haze, terrorism, migration and also Rohingya refugees they affect all the ASEAN countries.”

“In the future ASEAN journalists will cover these issues much more broadly because of the ASEAN Press Council. There will be an organization to promote, help and supplement the integration of ASEAN and strengthen the community building. And make sure that the role the media plays is a very positive one.”

Kavi Chongkittavorn the Former chair of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA). He is now working to form the first ASEAN Press council.

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