Joint Press Statement


1.The Eighth Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on 7-8 October 2004 preceded by a Senior Officials Meeting on 5-6 October 2004.


2.         The Meeting was attended by H.E. Pehin Dato Haji Zakaria Sulaiman, Minister of Communications of Brunei Darussalam; H.E. Mr. Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information of the Kingdom of Cambodia; H.E. Mr. Chairul Zen, Advisor to the Minister of Communication and Information for Information Industry of the Republic of Indonesia; H.E. Dr. Phandouangchith Vongsa, Minister of Information and Culture of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic; H.E. Dato Paduka Abdul Kadir Haji Sheikh Fadzir, Minister of Information of Malaysia; H.E. Brigadier General Kyaw Hsan, Minister of Information of the Union of Myanmar; Mr. Dinno Marquez Oblena, Charge d’Affaires, a.i. of the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Cambodia; H.E. Dr. Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts of the Republic of Singapore; H.E. Mr. Wissanu Krea-Ngam, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand; and H.E. Mr. Do Quy Doan, Vice Minister of Culture and Information of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam; and their respective delegations. The Meeting was also attended by H.E. Mr. Ong Keng Yong, the Secretary General of ASEAN and his staff.


3.         The Conference was opened by H.E. Mr. Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Council of Ministers of the Royal Government of Cambodia. H.E. Mr. Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information of the Royal Government of Cambodia and H.E. Mr. Chairul Zen, Advisor to the Minister of Communication and Information for Information Industry of the Republic of Indonesia were elected as Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the Conference.


The Role of Information and the Media in Enhancing ASEAN Integration


4.The Ministers agreed on the important role of information and the media in supporting ASEAN’s goal of “Towards Shared Prosperity and Destiny in a Peaceful, Integrated and Caring Society”. The Ministers noted that with the finalisation of the Vientiane Action Programme 2004-2010 and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Plan of Action, both of which have placed greater emphasis on raising the awareness and understanding of ASEAN, the information sector in ASEAN has a greater role to play. The Ministers encouraged Member Countries to give their highest commitments to disseminating news and information within and outside the region.


5. The Ministers also reiterated the importance of the media in promoting understanding and appreciation of the political system, economics, culture and history of each ASEAN country and in promoting the free flow of information among and within ASEAN countries.


6.The Ministers also emphasized the important role of information sharing in ASEAN to help combat terrorism and control the spread of cross-border disease and to raise public awareness of issues of common concern to ASEAN Member Countries.


7.In line with this, the Ministers agreed to the following set of measures and initiatives to be implemented:


For the respective government TV stations to carry a 30-minute dedicated segment of ASEAN news every week or to carry at least 30 minutes of ASEAN news every week as part of their overall news programming to ensure that the ASEAN perspective is relayed to the general public. In the absence of government TV stations, to encourage private sector broadcasters to give due emphasis and prominence to ASEAN news;


ASEAN to adopt the tagline, “Ten Nations One Community” to provide sharper focus and greater visibility and prominence to ASEAN information and promotional work;


Look into enhancing the awareness and understanding of ASEAN among the younger generation, e.g. by leveraging on the current consumer interest in computer games;


Establish a media plan to garner more space in the regional and international media for ASEAN related news and information.

8.The Ministers also agreed to strengthen the existing institutional links among ASEAN bodies involved in information to further enhance the promotion, intensification and advancement of ASEAN regional cooperation and integration.


ASEAN Digital Broadcasting Cooperation


9.The Ministers agreed that digital broadcasting is the way ahead for television and in light of the convergence of broadcasting, telecommunications and computer technologies called for a joint approach and regional cooperation by ASEAN Member Countries to benefit from digital broadcasting.

10.In light of this, the Ministers welcomed and endorsed the ASEAN Digital Broadcasting initiative and in this regard, noted the convening of the ASEAN Digital Broadcasting Meeting and the setting up of an ASEAN Task Force to deliberate further on this matter, including the formulation of a common technical specification of the Set-Top Boxes (STBs) for ASEAN.


11.The Ministers, however, recognized that cooperation on this issue would need to take into account the different states of broadcasting infrastructure, the economic development of and the financial implications for some Member Countries.


ASEAN Television News


12.The Ministers recognised the ASEAN Television News as an effective vehicle to raise ASEAN awareness and understanding. The Ministers noted that the ATN weekly exchange has now increased from 30 minutes to 40 minutes. The ASEAN Television News items are being used by television stations in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe, through Asiavision and Eurovision news exchange entities.


13. The Ministers agreed that more training programmes and capacity-building work should be undertaken to ensure high quality inputs for the ATN exchange.


AMRI Plus 3 (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea)


14.As part of ASEAN’s efforts to strengthen policy dialogue, coordination and collaboration on information and media issues between ASEAN and the Plus 3 countries, the Ministers agreed to invite the Plus 3 countries to the AMRI Conference starting 2006. The dialogue, among others, shall address international and regional issues on information and media relevant to the interest and concern of the countries.


15.The Meeting welcomed Indonesia’s proposal to host the Workshop on Enhancing ASEAN-China Cooperation on Information and Media scheduled for December 2004.


Closing and Acknowledgement


16.The Ministers expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Cambodia for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements contributing to the success of the Conference.


17.The Conference was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN solidarity and cordiality.