GFMD Asia Forum: More Pluralism Thanks to News Blogs


Jakarta - Participants at the GFMD Asia Regional Forum for Media Development taking place in Jakarta on April 15-16, highlighted the positive contribution internet journalism and news blogs have made to increasing pluralism in the region.
The meeting, attended by 38 participants from 21 countries, underscored how media development programmes targeting internet media can make a difference to openness and diversity of sources in the region.

“Even though many sites are blocked in China, there are countless examples of local news blogs that target corruption and promote public debate,” said Ying Chan, GFMD Steering Committee member from Hong Kong.

Internet penetration in China has reached almost 30 \% and continues to grow. Even though social networking sites such as twitter are blocked, there are Chinese internet providers that offer similar interactive services.

In Malaysia, internet based media such as Malaysiakini are now setting the news agenda and are providing news and information that cannot be found in traditional media.

“Internet media in Malaysia is not covered by the existing press laws and we have shown that we can work to high ethical standards with our own system of self-regulation,” said Premesh Chandran of Malaysiakini. “But we need more training and more established structures to make sure that we can provide news not only fast but well-sourced and presented in context.”

Also in Indonesia, the internet is growing at an enormous rate. There are some 45 million users and the country has one million bloggers.

“Blogging and internet media in Indonesia are driven by social movements,” said Uni Lubis, Head of News and Current Affairs of antv.  “Our experience shows that support for quality internet news sites is a real investment into democracy.”

But the region is also characterised by a digital divide. In Cambodia, there are only some 100,000 internet users and very few news blogs. In Afghanistan the level of internet penetration is just 2 \%. In Pakistan it is around 10 \%.

“Support for setting up news sites would help to increase the information space in Cambodia”, said Vichea Tieng of the Cambodia Communication Institute. “Even though internet penetration is still low, it is growing and we could provide more and different sources of information and news to citizens.”

The GFMD Asia Regional Forum for Media Development finishes on April 16 when conclusions of the meeting will be published. It is hosted by the Indonesian Press Council and received financial support from the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. (GFMD)


By Administrator| 19 April 2010 | berita |