Accepting the New Norm: AIBD held the first-ever virtual General Conference
9th December 2021 – The first-ever virtual AIBD General Conference (GC) and its Associated Meetings was held via Zoom platform. This was the first GC held after the pandemic was announced in 2020, with restrictions on traveling and gathering, and remote-working became the new norm.
57 full and affiliate members convened for the 46th Annual Gathering/19th AIBD General Conference hosted virtually from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The meeting focused on the annual performance of the Institute and future plans to respond to the rapid-changing media landscape in Asia Pacific, particularly in the wake of the pandemic.
AIBD General Conference inaugural ceremony commenced with opening remarks by the Director of AIBD, Ms Philomena Gnanapragasam, followed by welcome remarks by the AIBD GC President Mr Mayank Agrawal, where he welcomed the new members and lauded AIBD’s initiatives during the pandemic.
‘AIBD has been at the centre of connectivity,’ stressed Mr Agrawal. Reminding the members that AIBD has sparked greater engagement through numerous training and sessions with the members since the pandemic began.
H.E Dr Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, Kingdom of Cambodia and AIBD-Patron & Chief of EXBO, gave the special remarks. His Excellency highlighted the importance of role of the media in during the pandemic, and urged the members to support each other for greater success.
H.E Ms Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Under-Secretary-General & Executive Secretary, UN-ESCAP delivered a pre-recorded video speech where she encouraged media organisations to give ‘hope’ a chance. ‘To seek out more of these hopeful stories. To uncover all the good work that is going on around Asia and the Pacific so as to ensure a viable and sustainable future for us all.’
The inaugural ceremony concluded with a special recognition award presented to two deserving recipients. AIBD GC President Mr Agrawal presented the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ to H.E Dr Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, Kingdom of Cambodia, in recognition of the invaluable support offered by His Excellency and the government of Cambodia under his leadership.
The second award ‘AIBD Appreciation Award’ was presented to Radio Television Brunei (RTB), Haji Azman Haji Abdul Rahim, Acting Director, represented by Mr. Cheong Chee Keong, Acting Deputy Director (Development), in recognition of exceptional commitment of RTB towards up-skilling their own staff through AIBD initiatives and trainings.
The next items on the agenda were the reporting of various aspects of AIBD, starting with the Directors report;
In her presentation to the GC, AIBD Director, Ms Gnanapragasam reported on the successful conclusion of AIBD activities. She highlighted the implementation of 41 training workshops in the region from October 2020 – October 2021. These activities focused on training dealing with radio and TV production, children’s rights, health journalism, safety for journalists and sessions on pandemic awareness. Close to 1,523 broadcasters from member countries benefitted from these workshops.
A short video of the Institute’s newest project ‘AIBD Health Communication Manual’, was shown. This successful project, which was mooted in November 2020, has already begun on training activities since January 2021 and have so far trained more than 65 broadcasters from over 13 countries.
On international partnership, the Director, emphasised the role of AIBD’s international partners in strengthening the capacity of the Institute to deliver training programmes and other activities to members. These partners include UNESCO/IPDC, UNICEF, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France, France Media Monde, ITU, EBU, Radiodays Asia, ADPC, Prix Jeunesse, KBS, HBF, NABM, JIFROM, CGTN, KBS, ILO and IOM for working with us during the pandemic to execute online training activities such as webinars, online workshops and media dialogues and web-summits.
The Director’s Report was followed with the introduction of new members. AIBD was able to recruit two new affiliate members during the year 2021, representing RT Channel, Russia, Mr Alexey Nikolov, Managing Editor, and Mr Raja Singham, Managing Director, Brickfield Asia College (BAC) Education Bhd, Malaysia were introduced to AIBD members respectively.
The newly formed AIBD Advisory Board was welcomed by the members of AIBD GC, and board member, Mr Bae Jung Seob, Director General, Broadcasting Infrastructure Bureau, Korea Communications Commission (KCC) gave a short presentation on the board mandates and introduced all members of the board.
Next on the agenda was the Sharing ITU-AIBD Joint Declaration, with brief remarks by the AIBD president and Dr Atsuko Okuda, Regional Director ITU Asia-Pacific Region.
Chairman Strategic Plan Team (SPT) report, presented by Dr Kim Youngyill, KBS, Korea was followed by Chairman Executive Board (EXBO) report, H.E Has Sam Ath, Ministry of Cambodia, respectively.
The meeting concluded after Virtual AMS in 2022 was mooted and endorsed, and the next GC host, Mr Phosy Keomanivong, Director- General-General, Laos National Radio (LNR) invited all AIBD members to Lao PDR in 2022 for the 47th Annual Gathering/20th AIBD General Conference and Associated Meetings.