The Republic of the Union of Myanmar hosted the Twelfth Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (12th AMRI) and the Third Conference of ASEAN Plus Three Ministers Responsible for Information (3rd AMRI+3) in Nay Pyi Taw, on 12 June 2014.
The Conferences were preceded by the Senior Officials Meeting for the 12th AMRI on 10 June 2014, and the ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials Meeting for the 3rd AMRI+3 on 11 June 2014.
The Conference was officiated by the Vice President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Dr. Sai Mauk Kham. In his Opening Address, the Honourable Vice President emphasised that as we are moving forward to set up a people-centred ASEAN Community and enhancing connectivity for an ASEAN Community, media cooperation plays an important role in linking our societies and encouraging civil society to participate in regional-community building. He referred to the outcomes of the 11th AMRI Meeting held in Malaysia in 2012 on the positive role that social media can contribute to enhance cultural values, understanding and solidarity amongst peoples of ASEAN. As such, he concluded that the theme for the 12th AMRI Meeting – “Social Responsible Media for a Peaceful and Prosperous Community” – is timely to further promote media development and cooperation in building the ASEAN Community.
The ASEAN Anthem ‘The ASEAN Way’ was played at the opening ceremony.
The Conference was chaired by His Excellency (HE) U Aung Kyi, Union Minister, Ministry of Information of Myanmar. The list of Ministers from all ASEAN Member States and the Plus Three Countries is presented in ANNEX 1.
The Chairman in his opening statement stated that the year 2014 is an important year for Myanmar as she is taking the rotating chair of ASEAN for the first time after joining ASEAN in 17 years. 2014 is also a key timeline towards marking the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015. He further highlighted that Myanmar is taking all necessary steps to implement the responsibilities of ASEAN Chair in accordance with the theme for 2014 ASEAN Chair as “Moving Forward in Unity to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community”. In this regard, he stressed that the information and media sector shall be engaged and cooperated with the governments and other stakeholders to ensure sufficient information about ASEAN will reach our peoples, and to provide an opportunity to educating peoples about the benefits of ASEAN’s integration and ASEAN community building process.
Steady Progress of Information and Media Cooperation
Appreciating the need to implement a comprehensive communications plan to meet the vision of One ASEAN Community by 2015, the Ministers called for stronger coordination and effective communication among the different sectoral bodies in implementation of the ASCC Blueprint, optimizing opportunities for crosssectoral cooperation to inform the public about the benefit of ASEAN’s integration and community building.
The Ministers noted a steady progress and outcomes of key projects aiming to increase ASEAN awareness and mutual understanding through the ASEAN information and media cooperation process, such as the television and radio news exchanges (ASEAN Television News and ASEAN-in-Action respectively), and the ASEAN Quiz (regional and national levels), etc.
The Ministers noted with satisfactions that several initiatives have been taken up to address the requirement of a growing population using social media, amongst those which include the new website for ASEAN’s culture and information which replaces the ASEAN Media Portal and the ASEAN Culture and Information Portal, social media and an ASEAN Virtual Learning Resources Centre (AVLRC). All of which will serve as resourceful platforms that enable online users seamless navigations on culture, history and place of interest in ASEAN.
With regard to digital broadcasting, the Ministers welcomed initiatives that were identified to benefit leapfrogging to Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestrial Second Generation (DVB-T2), and noted regional efforts in the implementation of the ‘Guidelines for ASEAN Digital Switch-Over’ (2015 – 2020). The Ministers commended the completion of the first-ever TV co-production programme on ‘Rice: Seed of Life’ in a series of ‘Colours of ASEAN’ in High Definition format.
In the area of technical standards, the Ministers endorsed a recommendation on the development of an ASEAN-wide DVB-T2 Integrated Receiver Decoder (IRD) specification to reap the benefits of economies of scale for affordable DVB-T2 IRDs in ASEAN Member States who already adopted DVB-T2 for DTTB.
Social Responsible Media for a Peaceful and Prosperous ASEAN Community
The Ministers agreed that the information and media shall cover more crosssectoral and multi-stakeholder issues to support creating a sense of belonging and enhancing deeper mutual understanding among ASEAN Member States about their culture, history, religion and civilisation. The Ministers also highlighted the need to deepen media cooperation to support community building through closer coordination, joint projects, media networking and human resources development especially the younger generation, to support ASEAN’s concerted efforts in promoting ASEAN awareness and building the ASEAN Community.
At the Conference, the Ministers agreed to adopt the Declaration on Social Responsible Media for a Peaceful and Prosperous Community. The Declaration (appeared as ANNEX 2) is a guiding document to further strengthen cooperation in the fields of information and media through undertaking programmes and joint activities, and by leveraging on all forms of media.
The Ministers shared positive views on the necessary expansion and improvement of the information and media cooperation in ASEAN so that it will effectively enhance the existing programmes in disseminating information on ASEAN, and educate our peoples on the progress of the ASEAN community building process. In this regard, the Ministers noted the set up of three Working Groups, namely ASEAN Digital Broadcasting (ADB), Working Group on Information, Media, and Training; and Working Group on Content and Production, to strengthen the information and media cooperation in ASEAN.
Enhancing Cooperation with Dialogue Partners
The Ministers exchanged views on the progress of ASEAN Plus Three cooperation and possible measures to further enhance cooperation between ASEAN and the Plus Three countries in the field of information and media.
The ASEAN Plus Three Ministers reviewed the progress of the ASEAN-China Work Plan on Enhancing ASEAN-China Cooperation through Information and Media (2010-2015), and the Work Plan on Enhancing ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Through Information and Media (2012 – 2017). The Ministers noted that several initiatives are being discussed to further enhance cooperation between ASEAN and the Plus Three countries
The ASEAN Ministers appreciated China’s efforts to use broadcasting and publications for fostering the ASEAN-China friendly ties and good-neighborly relationships. The ASEAN Ministers noted that China pays great attention to the friendly exchanges and cooperation in the field of information and media within the ASEAN Plus Three framework with the understanding that the AMRI+3 is an important mechanism for pragmatic cooperation aimed at promoting mutual understanding and trust and maintaining peace, stability and development in the region.
The ASEAN Ministers welcomed the progress of cooperation with Japan on digital content, especially local content development and human resource development. The ASEAN Ministers expressed their appreciation for Japan’s plan on cooperation to promote authorised distribution of broadcast content, share knowledge of content, and strengthen people and cultural exchange based on the recognition that information and media could contribute to enhancing ASEAN connectivity including people-to-people connectivity.
The ASEAN Ministers noted a proposal from the Republic of Korea on possible ways in which ASEAN and the ROK could collaborate, in addition to the ASEAN Plus Three framework. The ASEAN Ministers welcomed the furtherance of media exchanges with the ROK, including exchanges in digital broadcasting technology as well as co-production of digital content, exchanges and training of journalists and the development of human resources.
Closing and Acknowledgment
The Ministers agreed to convene the 13th Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (13th AMRI) and its related meetings with Dialogue Partners in the Philippines in 2016.
The Ministers expressed their sincere thanks and appreciation to the Government and people of Myanmar for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements made for the 12th AMRI Conference. The Conference was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN solidarity and cordiality.
List of Ministers
H.E. Dato Paduka Haji Abd. Wahab bin Juned, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Brunei Darussalam;
H.E. Dr. Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, Cambodia;
Dr. Suprawoto, Secretary-General, representing Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Indonesia;
H.E. Mr. Savankhone Razmountry, Vice Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lao PDR;
H.E. Mr. Jailani bin Johari, Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Malaysia;
H.E. U Aung Kyi, Union Minister of Information, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar;
H.E. Mr. Sonny Coloma, Secretary, Presidential Communications Operations Office, Philippines;
H.E. Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, Singapore;
H.E. Mr. Pisanu Suvanajata, Ambassador of Thailand to Myanmar, representing Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office;
H.E. Mr. Nguyen Thanh Hung, Vice Minister of Information and Communications, Socialist Republic of Viet Nam;
H.E. Mr. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN;
H.E. Mr. Cai Mingzhao, Minister of State Council Information Office, People’s Republic of China;
Mr. Soichiro Seki, Director General for International Affairs, Global ICT Strategy Bureau, representing Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan;
H.E. Mr. Sun Gyu Bang, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Republic of Korea.