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Encourage Mother Tongue Languages To Convey ASEAN News And Information

by August 29, 2017 General

By Samantha Tan

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 (Bernama) — ASEAN media practitioners and academicians should encourage the use of mother tongue in conveying news and information about the region, said Dr Pranee Thiparat, an associate professor of International Relations at the Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University.

Noting the crucial role of media and academicians in promoting ASEAN community, she said many people lack the knowledge about the region’s development although the grouping celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this month.

“Eventhough we (ASEAN) are 50-year-old, I don’t think general people know anything about ASEAN, what ASEAN is about and how do they benefit from ASEAN.

“It’s not only crucial to promote information about ASEAN but at the same time relaying the message to the people in each country through their mother tongue on the importance of ASEAN,” she told Bernama after the final session entitled “Celebrating 50 Years of ASEAN: Its Past, Present and Future” at the Third Japan-ASEAN Media Forum.

The two-day forum which ended Monday was organised by the Japan Foundation Asia Center. It focused on oriented discussion for leading journalists and academics in Japan, ASEAN countries, neighbouring countries and beyond to strengthen their networks.

The first edition was held in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2015 followed by Manila, Philippines last year.

Dr Pranee said it was vital for media practitioners, not only journalists covering assignments on ASEAN, to be exposed to knowledge about the region’s history and convinced that ASEAN as a regional grouping would have stronger voice on the global front.

She suggested that training be provided for local journalists in each country to understand and appreciate ASEAN’s history and values as well as encourage news writing in their own languages rather than just English.

Sharing the same views, Utusan Malaysia Senior Editor, Gamal Nasir Mohd Ali said ASEAN stories were mostly written in English rather than their mother tongue, adding it would discourage people especially in the rural areas to understand and involved in ASEAN’s development.

“I think there should be more materials and articles written not only in English which are mostly read by educated group but also in their mother tongue to allow the general public to better understand and appreciate what is ASEAN in the future,” he added.

Senior Commentator on International Affairs at Japan’s NHK, Aiko Doden said ASEAN as a regional grouping have an impressive growth and development in the past and it is crucial to ensure ASEAN is sustainable in the next 50 years.

The future of ASEAN is more promising if it achieve a balanced growth for an inclusive and equitable community, she said.

She suggested two approaches for ASEAN enroute to a balanced-growth path namely engaging the middle-class population and narrowing disparity.

“When growth become inclusive, nobody gets left behind. When the growth is more equitable, ASEAN will become sustainable,” she said.

As ASEAN dialogue partner, Japan could provide support in human security development to ensure fair practices as the country has been at the forefront of both the conceptual and practical development of human security since the mid-1990s.

Another participant, News Anchor/Editor of Thailand’s Nation TV, Veenarat Laohapakakul said she loved ASEAN in its own way although many like to compare the 10-nation grouping (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) with the success of the European Union (EU) integration.

“ASEAN is useful on international stage. People like to compare us (ASEAN) with EU, but I personally like the ASEAN this way,” she said.

She said there was a need to foster better understanding through member states’ cooperation on areas such as tourism, culture, education, youth and sports, environment, disaster management and humanitarian.