LJA assumes vice presidency of CAJ


Wednesday, 10 August 2005

Vientiane Times
Published on August 10, 2005

Featured Laos NewsThe 15th General Assembly of the Confederation of ASEAN Journalists, which was hosted by the Confederation of Thai Journalists (CTJ) in Bangkok, from August 4 to 8, has vested the Lao Journalists Association with the vice presidency of CAJ for the next two years.

CTJ, which took over the chair from Vietnam , will assume the presidency of CAJ until 2007. At that time, LJA will hold the 16 th General Assembly in Vientiane and take over the presidency from Thailand .

The seven-strong Lao delegation was led by LJA Vice President, Somsanouk Mixay.

The 15 th General Assembly adopted a “Bangkok Action Plan”, in which CAJ members pledge to carry on the recommendations in the Hanoi Initiatives 2003-2005 as a guideline to achieve the common goal of all the member organisations. They expressed deep concern over the unabated killing of journalists in the Philippines and threats to press freedom in the region.

With the ethnic and religious conflicts in the region, the CAJ members urged the journalists to be impartial and act in accordance with the highest standard of code of ethics in promoting stability and peace. They also pledged to establish an emergency fund to help journalists who have suffered from the tsunami and from conflict situations. They expressed appreciation for the cooperation of the strategic partners and welcome further cooperation and assistance.

They expressed commitment to keep the CAJ doors open to journalist organisations in Brunei , Myanmar and Cambodia . A CAJ Action group is set up, composed of one representative from each member country, to identify priority issues and draw up an appropriate framework to increase CAJ efficiency.

In his opening address, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra urged the press to commit itself to justice and respect of the truth. He also insisted on fairness and impartiality in reporting.

At the Press Convention, which was held during the General Assembly under the theme “Asian news, ASEAN Views”, participants were unanimous that there should be a stronger flow of information among CAJ member countries. It was found that they do not report enough about each other, perhaps for fear of interfering in each other's internal affairs. Former Thai Foreign Minister Surin Phitsuwan shared with the participants his views on the responsibility of the media in a world of globalisation. Dr Hans Koechler, President of the International Progress Organisation and Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, talked of information and communication in a multi-polar world, insisting on the role of Asian media. While a free and balanced flow of information is imperative for a just world order, Dr Koechler said that Asia , which is the most dynamic in terms of economic development, should complement its weight in global affairs with an active participation in the global media and communication sector.

At the closing dinner, Thai Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkol, talking about solidarity, said the media should transform the community of ten peoples in ASEAN into one people.

Members of CAJ attending the meeting were the Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI), the Lao Journalists Association (LJA), the National Union of Journalists Malaysia (NUJM), the National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC), the Singapore National Union of Journalists (SNUJ), the Confederation of Thai Journalists (CTJ) and the Vietnam Journalists Association (V JA). Two Cambodian journalists associations attended as observers: the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ) and the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ). Partners of the confederation were also at the Bangkok Meeting: the All-China Journalists Association (ACJA), the Nihon Shimbun Kyokai of Japan (NSK), the Journalists Association of Korea (JAK) from the Republic of Korea , and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung from Germany .

Participants stayed at the sea resort of Cha-am as guests of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and were received at Hua Hin by the Provincial Press Association of Thailand. Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra opened an exhibition of photos by journalists from participating countries.