The Workshop on Media and Elections has kicked off the series of events leading to the 11th Asia Media Summit to take place from 6-8 May 2014 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Some 25 high-ranking broadcasters from Africa, Arab region, and Asia-Pacific joined the three-day workshop that began on 3 May 2014. The workshop aims to reinforce the role of media in a democracy and encourage a qualitative improvement in election coverage.
On the first day of the workshop, participants identified problems critical to effective election coverage, in particular, access to information on policies and candidates’ programs, and availability of accurate data especially for journalists undertaking investigative reports.
They recognized the critical relationship between media and democracy, saying that media has served as a useful tool for accountability of government.
“We don't want media controlling government or the government controlling the media. What we need is a balance in that relationship as well as a responsible media.” Mr. Mohamed Saeed, Chief Operating Officer of Maldives Broadcasting Corporation said.
Participants also stressed that people are the center of governance whose needs, perspectives and opinions should be articulated through the use of media.
“Media makes government focus on people,” Mr. Mohamad Moshen from the Lebanese Communication Group/Al Manar TV, Lebanon said.
Recognizing the critical importance of freedom of expression for an effective election coverage, participants called for its responsible practice, saying clear guidelines and rules should be in place.
“Freedom of expression and opinion is critical to establishing a free media,” says Mr. Savyasaachi Jain of Sawnsea University, Wales, who served as the workshop consultant.
Mr. Savyasaachi cited media developments that would affect election coverage, among them, media ownership by big business, audience fragmentation and growing importance of social media.
AIBD has organised three other workshops for the benefit of AMS participating broadcasters. These are AIBD/Eurovision Academy/CCTV Master Class on Social Media and TV Programmes, AIBD/UNESCO/Rotana Workshop on Media Ethics in the Age of Social Media, and AIBD/ASBU Symposium on Public Service Broadcasting.
On 6 May 2014, the 10th Asia Media Summit will open with Dr. Abdul-Aziz Bin Muhiuddin Khoja, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture and Information on behalf of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, delivering the keynote address.
The Summit’s major partners are Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and Information and General Commission for Audiovisual Media.