As one of the most diverse regions in the world, journalists in South East Asia are struggling to report its diversity. And starting next year, 10 state members of ASEAN will come together as a single community – the ASEAN community.
KBR68H gathered journalists from ASEAN member states in a roundtable discussion to discuss how media should help creating the community – along with the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Director of Community Affairs Development of the ASEAN Secretariat Danny Lee says media plays a key role in shaping the community. Guruh Dwi Riyanto starts by asking how should journalists reports the diversity and dynamics of the region.
“When a private media criticizes one government, one of the countries, they are doing so with, how much credibility? How much knowledge? Now, who should decide? The listener, the users will decide. If the listener finds, your criticisms are fake, they will not listen to you, they will not come to your website.”
“Some people may say market regulated. Off course, the reality is, there would be some people who enjoy very wild kind of statement. But, good thing is this is something we cannot avoid. But the reality also something very extreme is usually on the minority. Those majorities do accept that there are differences in all our countries. All our country has different way dealing with issues, dealing with our problems. Sometimes from another country, another person outside, you may not know better.”
Q. But how do you see the prospect of the news of other countries, other ethnics, diverse news after 2015? Will it be more diverse or increasing in number on news room on ASEAN?
“Oh, definitely if you look today because of internet and our young people. Our young people want diversity and different information. Technologies such as internet also allow many different voices to appear. Will this go down or go up? Definitely I look at these. This variety of voices will increase every time because of the diversity. Diversity means there is no single answer. There is going to be just diverse answers. In fact, some find different answer to different issues or you look at one issue the different aspect. All these will create the room for different debate, different voices to come up. So, post 2015, you can be quite certain that you know the ASEAN media will work even more vary.“
Q. Will it create a new identity of ASEAN? How is it?
“ASEAN, our identity, is diversity. Diversity means you do not have one single so. Ok, so I will single identity is ok where peace and stability in the region. We do respect each other government. Now in that context, that is a broad issue. Inside those different views of each other, it is also a part of ASEAN landscape. So the ASEAN landscape is definitely part of it. And it will remain.”
Q. What do you think the main problem of reporting diversity in the present and in the future that will appear after the community?
“ In that diversity, some will agree and some will disagree. This is also part of the landscape. Therefore, there is a reason there is no one answer. You have one uniform answer, not everybody will be happy. You give many, many different answers each will take what they like. So, there is always different and limit at stake.”
Q. Let’s say about press freedom, not every country gives enough freedom to the press. Like in Indonesia in Papua, there is certain area uncovered. May be there is such a place in Myanmar and Philippine. How do you think it is reported with such?
“Ok, if we are talking about news freedom. That I will say that now news freedom evolves based on its country. Every country has its own development. Every country will decide how much freedom, how much room, how do they want one media to play. This is something ASEAN cannot decide as a whole. Each member state will have its own development part. Somewhere along the line, some of the part, some different country there will emerge, some in common area, some have different area. But I think that is fine.”
Q. So, that is like moving in an area which is quite flexible?
“Yes, I think the movement and development will not be uniform in the sense that everybody moving in the same pat. No, it will not. It will not be uniform in that way just as typically anything about ASEAN. As I say a lot of development is no uniform. But, there is where diversity lies. It creates issues, it creates problems. But it also creates opportunity. So, is really like what do you choose to focus on? Off course we are not saying that when you focus on opportunity you will be aware of the issues when you focus on the issue you’ll b aware of the opportunity. It is balance.”