KUALA LUMPUR: Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak has proposed the establishment of a regional news agency or ASEAN News Agency in an effort to strengthen cooperation on many fronts in line with the spirit of the ASEAN Community.
He said through their own network of news agencies, the proposed ASEAN News Agency could deliver a comprehensive range of coverage from around the grouping’s 10 member countries.
“Most of the grouping’s member states already have their own national news agencies. Some, like the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama), has been in existence for 48 years.
“The way forward and with the ASEAN Community already a reality, slowly but surely, the ASEAN News Agency that I am proposing here, can play a significant role in strengthening ASEAN cooperation on many fronts,” he said when opening the ASEAN Editors’ Summit, here Tuesday.
In this respect, Salleh wanted the participants of the two-day ASEAN Editors’ Summit to initiate some preliminary discussions on the proposal.
He said the ASEAN Secretariat could, upon achieving a consensus among member states at a later stage, decide on which country to host this news agency.
“And of course matters like its modus operandi and financing. It could even, to my mind, be fast-tracked by way of each news agency seconding its senior editors and journalists to the proposed news agency which basically can play the role of a central clearing house for news reports generated by these agencies.
“Working out the finer details would be a challenge to participating agencies but I believe it is doable,” he said.
Furthermore, Salleh said almost every 1,500 media organisations in ASEAN member countries were too often faced with cross-border issues relating to security and national sovereignty, in which such issues should be reported in a cordial and transparent manner, so that it does not further complicate conflicts, both regional and global.
Hence, he said strong ties among media organisations must be nurtured to maintain regional peace and harmony, and the ASEAN news agency would lead to media practitioners and journalists having greater opportunities to interact and cooperate with each other.