Mr. Salah Eddine Maaoui, Director General, Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), Tunisia calls on broadcasters to reject a kind of globalization, fundamentalism and extremism that threatens cultural diversity.
He said that while broadcast organizations promote their own cultural diversity, they must also be open to other cultures of the world. He said ASBU is pursuing this approach, laying a bridge of communication with other groups and cooperating through program exchange.
Mr. Maaoui spoke during the first plenary session on “Media and Diversity: The Way Forward” of the Asia Media Summit that opened on 29 May 2013 in Manado, Indonesia.
In his presentation, he said that for public media to serve the public interest, it must reject censorship and instead help preserve and promote cultural diversity.
Mrs. Usha Bhasin, Officer on Special Duty, Doordarshan (DD), India also shared her insights in this plenary session, lamenting that India’s young population is increasingly losing their cultural roots. She said they are unfamiliar with India’s regional languages which is a serious challenge to diversity in the country.
“In a media that is growing globally what is missing is the opportunities for cultural expression. Politics and cross ownership are among the reasons for this scenario,” she said.
She called attention to the efforts of Doordarshan’s channel called DD Bharati, India’s only channel dedicated to culture. It is a 24x7 satellite channel available on DTH and cable platforms that offers programs on history and heritage, fairs and festivals, lifestyle, people, dances, music, arts and crafts, painting and sculpture, films and theater.
She said funding remains a critical problem in supporting this cultural channel. A practical approach, she said, is to partner with local and international organizations whose primary duty is to promote cultures. She also urged broadcasters in Asia Pacific to undertake program exchange programs with each other and called on AIBD to take a lead in this endeavor.
Mr. Yang Fuqing, Deputy Controller, China Central Television (CCTV) News, China, who also spoke in this session urged support for media diversity that allows media organizations in many emerging countries to provide a diversity of voices that promotes cultural diversity.
He cited efforts by CCTV, Al Jazeera and Channel News Asia towards this end and urged big media players to support small broadcasters in emerging nations that can help promote cultural diversity.
“In particular, China Central TV (CCTV) provides voices from many emerging countries like in Africa. Cultural programs is very much part of CCTV News, ” he said.