Pursuant to the decisions taken by the Third Meeting of the ASEAN Heads of Government in Manila, 14 – 15 December 1987, regarding the enhancement of ASEAN cooperation in the field of information, particularly in the press area, the First Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information held in Jakarta on 24 – 25 May 1989 adopted the following consensus:
I. Principles of ASEAN Press Cooperation
1. The Conference recognized the strategic importance of the press and its vital role in the process of national development of each of the ASEAN nations. Considering the interdependence of ASEAN nations, the Conference encouraged the ASEAN press to promote the paramount goals of ASEAN, including the preservation of political stability, rapid economic growth, social justice, greater regional cohesion, and the development of human resources to their full potential.
2. Within the above framework and the enhancement of the role of the press in national and regional development, the Conference agreed that the principle of press freedom with social responsibility is the basic of the ASEAN press.
3. The press in ASEAN has a role and responsibility to continue promoting greater awareness and understanding among the peoples of ASEAN of their history, tradition and ideals, and continue to enhance positive relationships among ASEAN member countries. The Conference noted the importance of the press in enhancing ASEAN solidarity and in this connection urged the press to continue to exercise sensitivity in handling issues that might affect this solidarity.
4. Increased contacts among ASEAN editors and journalists to develop the spirit of ASEAN consciousness, should be further enhanced.
II. Cooperation among ASEAN News Agencies (ANEX) Network
1. The ASEAN News Exchange (ANEX) network established by Bernama, Antara, The Philippines News Agency (PNA) and the Thai News Agency (TNA) in 1980 was meant to be the major source of news on major events in the ASEAN region for the print and electronics media in the ASEAN countries. Brunei Darussalam and Singapore do not have any national news agency. However, news provided by ANEX for the print and/or electronic media have been welcomed by these ASEAN member nations.
2. a. Considering the commitment of ANEX to ASEAN goals, news originated by ANEX for the print and electronic media in the ASEAN countries may differ in substance and regional perspective as compared to news originated by transnational news agencies operating in the region.
b. The accuracy, objectivity and regional consciousness of ANEX in providing news on important events in the ASEAN region would also help educate and broaden the horizon of the peoples of ASEAN.
c. It is therefore to the benefit of ASEAN nations to strengthen the ANEX network in such a manner that it can equal and eventually surpass the effectiveness and efficiency of transnational news agencies operating in the ASEAN countries.
3. The Conference agreed that ASEAN countries involved in the ASEAN News Exchange (ANEX) continue to provide the necessary support for ANEX to achieve its goals, including:
a. the establishment of a lower common intra-ASEAN telecommunication tariff for the ANEX network, in consultation with the respective ASEAN telecommunication authorities;
b. the expansion of the on-going news exchange by establishing a data bank for information exchange through the ANEX network;
c. the improvement of ANEX’s capability to disseminate news not only within the ASEAN region, but outside the ASEAN region as well;
d. to request the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information (COCI) to consider increasing its financial assistance to ANEX in order that ANEX can achieve the above goals; and
e. to explore other sources of funds in order to support the further development of ANEX.
4. Although Brunei Darussalam and Singapore are not directly involved in ANEX, however, their continuous support for ANEX has always been welcomed.
III. Relations with Foreign Media
The presence of the foreign media and agencies contributes to the flow of a vital resource, information, from the rest of the world to ASEAN and vice-versa. Their presence has been welcomed by the Government of ASEAN countries in accordance with their respective national policies. The Conference, however, also agreed to promote awareness among the foreign media and agencies of the unique circumstances prevailing in each ASEAN member countries, to avoid future difficulties with the foreign media. The Conference agreed:
a. to share their experiences on the matter in the interest of each ASEAN country with a view to developing mutually beneficial relations with the foreign media;
b. to seek ways to ensure that press reports on ASEAN countries in the foreign media are more balanced and objective; and
c. that the foreign media take into consideration the values and sensitivities of ASEAN peoples.
IV. Enhancing Further Cooperation in the Field of Information and the Press
The Conference agreed to establish a Working Group of Senior Officials in consultation with COCI working together with the representatives of the ASEAN press and interested relevant media organizations in ASEAN to explore ways and means to further enhance ASEAN press cooperation through:
a. holding forums, seminars and workshops, exchanging ideas and studying the history and development of the press systems in ASEAN countries;
b. encouraging ASEAN journalists to be trained to develop ASEAN consciousness based upon the need to promote and preserve political stability, rapid economic growth, social justice, greater regional cohesion, and the development of human resources to their full potential in the ASEAN region; and
c. undertaking research on the role of the press in national and regional development.
To facilitate the undertaking of such activities, may be necessary to consider the possibility of establishing a centre.
V. Annual ASEAN Journalism Awards
The Conference agreed to the establishment of Annual ASEAN Journalism Awards in cooperation with COCI to be given to the journalists selected in the six ASEAN member countries who best typify in their writings, for the previous year, the ASEAN ideals of regional unity and cohesion, the promotion of economic growth and social justice and the development of ASEAN’s human resources to their full potential.
The Conference agreed that a Senior Officials Meeting for the Conference of ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information meet as and when necessary to coordinate the implementation of the decisions of the Ministers.
DONE in Jakarta, Republic of Indonesia, on the twenty-fifth day of May, one thousand nine hundred and eighty-nine.
For the Government of Brunei Darussalam:
PEHIN DATO HAJI ISA BIN IBRAHIM
Special Adviser to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Daruslaiam in the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Home Affairs
For the Government of the Republic of Indonesia:
Minister of Information
For the Government of Malaysia:
DATO’ MOHAMED RAHMAT
Minister of Information
For the Government of the Republic of the Philippines
G. NOEL TOLENTINO
For the Government of the Republic of Singapore:
DR YEO NING HONG
Minister for Communications and Information
For the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand:
KHUNYING SUPATRA MASDIT
Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office in Charge of Information