ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
European Union funds media workshop in Laos
The objective of the bilingual workshop, Journalism and Development, in two languages, Lao and English, via simultaneous translation by a highly skilled interpreter, was to get the Lao journalists to sharpen their writing and conceptual skills and so bring their copies to a high level of perfection.
During the opening session, the Charge d’affairs of European Union in Laos, Henry Prankerd said that journalists should go to the field to see development in action and so they would be well positioned to give first hand reports to the world.
The director of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Paul Linnarz, based in Singapore, told the journalists that as everyone lived in a fast changing world, any topical issue was not local anymore and so journalists played an important part in reporting any such issue to the world. The representative of Ministry of Information and Culture, Vilaythong Sisamonh, said that Laos needed funds to train its media professionals and wanted such a process to accelerate at a fast clip.
The editor of Thai Rath, the most popular newspaper in Thailand, said that what had emerged in recent years was closer interaction between the public and Thai media.
Readers would write letters to the editors of newspapers and radio stations, especially the community radio channels, had call-in by listeners and their views were aired live over the air waves. Touching on another aspect of the media he said that they had become watchdogs, as they publicized many kinds of reports from the citizens.
Michel Leroy of Panos Institute, carried out a content analysis exercise of a local English daily, Vientiane Times, by means of a prescribed software, found that while its coverage of news on Vientiane was high, 63 per cent, but it was at the expense of news on the provinces, as low as three per cent for Luang Prabang province.
During the question and answer session, a local journalist asked for clarification on print media censorship on kissing and hugging. Mr. Vilaytong commented that the Lao customs were unique, Lao people had certain set ways of interacting in public places and added that they wanted such customary forms to persist.
The editor of Update, Anoulack Khammalavong, a local magazine, said that it had already attained popularity, but its journalists lacked the motivation to file good reports and he asked how could one get them to become highly competent so as to match the expectations of the magazine’s discerning readers.
Mr. Vilaythong, in his reply, cited the case of Vientiane Times, a local English newspaper, that carried out in-depth reports on topical issues, deflation, garment industry, casinos but, the other papers carried out one-sided discussions on such topics.
In doing so, he was trying to imply that the Vientiane Times example showed that Lao journalists had credible qualifications and so their good work could be replicated in other papers and media. An officer of ESCAP, a branch of UN, based in Bangkok, Wanphen Sreshthhaputra, expounded on the need for journalists to disseminate “stories” on the work of her body.
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