South East Asian journalists briefed on communicating the ASEAN message

Dr Makarim Wibisono, Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation, used the visit of 17 journalists from ASEAN countries and Timor Leste to the ASEAN Foundation Secretariat to emphasise the need, to build up the common “we” feeling towards the ASEAN community building process and the "good communication among the various layers and networking of the society" that is required.

He iterated the important role of the media in bridging the information gap between ASEAN and its peoples, and "therefore, it is expected that the ASEAN media will be able to serve as communicator of ASEAN in conveying its messages to the public on the various developments of ASEAN."

Presentations included a demonstration of the 2008-launched computer program “ASEAN Quest”, a "novel computer game" developed by the ASEAN Foundation that enables players to learn about ASEAN while pursuing a challenging quest of establishing a power plant and an ASEAN energy grid.

To succeed, a player needs help from ASEAN experts who reflect the three pillars of the forthcoming ASEAN Community: a Diplomat (also acting as a security specialist), an Economist who is knowledgeable about trade agreements, and a Social Scientist who is involved in cultural preservation.

Before the power station can be built, the player has to finish three mini-games: "Temple" which involves restoration after a super storm; "Nuclear Waste" in which an agent has to find missing nuclear waste before it explodes; and "Spraying", described as the "most exciting and difficult", in which assistance must be given to farmers to eradicate agricultural pests.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) development in a priority of the ASEAN Foundation which has plans for further ICT projects in sectors such as e-learning for education, ICT for health issue and ICT to support natural disaster management.

The visiting journalists, led by Pichai Chuensuksawadi, Editor-in-Chief of the Bangkok Post (Thailand), represented the Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia), Koran Tempo (Indonesia), Inforithm_maze, Myanmar Consolidated Media , Living Color Media (Myanmar), Philippine Daily Enquirer (Philippines), Vietnam Student Newspaper, Vietnam News, Vietnam Financial Review, Viet Nam Television (Vietnam) and Timornewsline and Timor Post (Timor Leste).

They were participating in a journalist training program organized by the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit), that is aimed at enriching the journalists’ understanding of the concept of regional integration and of the history, institutions and policies of ASEAN to improve the quality of media reporting on ASEAN matters.