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Vol. 24 No.2
April - June 2007

ISSN 0125-0159


Editorial
Editor’s Note
International Forum
Thailand Moving with ASEAN Towards a Caring and Sharing Society
Leadership
Prayong Ronnarong: Prime Example of a Community Leader
Interview
BOI and Its Important Roles in Promoting Investors in Global Business Arenas
Special Feature
China - ASEAN Cooperation Program
Human Security
Protecting the Rights of Immigrant Workers
Foreign Relations
The Second Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge: A New Link between Thailand and Its Close Neighbors
Energy
Trends of Energy Use and Development in Thailand
Thai Touch
Ko Phra Thong: A Savanna Paradise



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Thailand Moving with ASEAN Towards a Caring and Sharing Society

Thailand is fully committed to bringing this ASEAN vision of a community of sharing and caring societies into reality. Like their friends in the ASEAN region, the Thai people have started to build their caring and sharing society through strengthening the family institution, which is the basic unit in society. The present Thai government is implementing three major development strategies, in response to its policy to develop Thailand into a “green and happiness society” under cultural diversity and Thai wisdom. These strategies, calling for a caring Thai society, an empowered society, and a moral society, focus on placing the people and community at the center in order to promote public participation in national development.



The passage above with its message of building a better society is at the heart of the speech delivered by the Director-General of the Government Public Relations Department (PRD), Mr. Pramoj Rathavinij, on behalf of Khunying Dhipavadee Meksawan, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office of Thailand, at the Ninth Conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information, held in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 24 May 2007.

The conference, focusing on the theme of “Staying Connected to Advance a Caring and Sharing Community through Media,” was preceded by a senior officials meeting on May 22-23. The emphasis on “A Caring and Sharing Community,” as explained by the Secretary-General of ASEAN, Mr. Ong Keng Yong, means narrowing the development gap among the ASEAN member countries and also within the countries by building capacity and implementing what ASEAN had agreed to do.



In this connection, Thailand recalled the decision by the ASEAN leaders on accelerating the establishment of an ASEAN Community from 2020 to 2015. It also called for ASEAN to advance ICT cooperation and development in building a connected, vibrant, and secure ASEAN community and pointed out that ASEAN should use the existing networks, such as Asiavision, Eurovision, ASEAN News and Program Exchange, and ASEANWEB, as well as other news cooperation programs, to make the ASEAN brand better known outside the region.

In the Joint Media Statement issued at the conclusion of the conference, the ASEAN ministers stressed the important role of the media and the information sector in ensuring that the peoples of ASEAN have a proper understanding of the larger objectives of ASEAN and the opportunities it offers to all in ASEAN through mainstream ASEAN activities and initiatives to all stakeholders at the national level. An effective ASEAN communications strategy is also needed to promote the achievements of ASEAN in the region and the world.



In order to achieve the objectives of the ASEAN community, the ministers agreed that more coordination and proactive measures would be needed to increase information exchange and promote information flows and encourage the media industry to cover more ASEAN events and activities. They acknowledged that digital broadcasting would usher in a new era of growth and investment in this sector and that the DVB-T standard was the most commonly adopted international DTV standard. In this regard, the ministers endorsed the DVB-T standard for ASEAN common digital terrestrial television broadcasting standard and took note of the proposal by some ASEAN member countries for ASEAN to work towards 2015 as a common date to switch from analog to digital, subject to the ability of individual ASEAN member countries.

At the same conference, the ASEAN ministers also held consultations with China and Japan, their close dialogue partners. ASEAN and China agreed to deepen cooperation in the area of information and media, focusing on human resource development, the exchange of films and TV programs, and setting up an ASEAN-China information and media network. With Japan, ASEAN agreed to expand future cooperation in media content development, broadcasting digitization, and emergency broadcasting systems. Both sides exchanged ideas on making more effective outreach to the younger generation and agreed to explore possible areas of cooperation in this respect.


In response to the results of the conference, PRD is taking steps to develop its personnel in the field of digital broadcasting and prepare operational and budget plans to cope with changes in the future.

The next conference of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information, the 10th of its kind, will be held in Vientiane, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, in 2009.


Story: Chamnong Pakaworawuth
Photos: Prapaisri Ketsawa



Foreign Office
The Government Public Relations Department

Rama VI Road, Soi 30, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Tel : (66-2) 618-2323 ext. 1700 Fax : (66-2) 618-2358 E-mail : prforeign@gmail.com