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AVN celebrates 30 years of news exchange

Former and current Asiavision heads joined in a celebration in Malaysia marking the news exchange service’s 30th anniversary.

Asiavision members, staff and guests gathered for a celebratory dinner at the Royale Chulan Hotel, were welcomed by the event’s hosts, RTM-Malaysia, and addressed by four past heads and the current Director of the KL-based service.

RTM Director-General Dato’ Norhyati Ismail said that, after 30 years, Asiavision had, through increasingly better cooperation, partnership and mutual trust, “moved closer towards the goal of an Asian TV news agenda from Asia’s own eyes by sharing daily news and stories with each other, rather than heavily relying on other news sources outside Asia”. 

“However, we need to fully gear up for the long term goal by innovating Asiavision as well as helping members grow as fast as they can,” she said.

Following Dato’ Norhyati’s welcome, the present Director Mr Sedrick Ahn gave a video presentation showing the work of Asiavision today, highlighting its technological development and continued growth in membership to 28, its highest ever. 

Former Chair of the AVN News Group Mr Shaun Seow said that not only had Asiavision grown and developed, but it had helped him to grow too. He said Asiavision’s respect for difference and diversity had taught him and others to look at the Asia-Pacific from different perspectives.

One of the service’s earliest heads, Mr Sato Toshiyuki, recalled how the idea for a regional news exchange had grown before Asiavision became a reality in 1984 and he praised subsequent staff for guiding the service into the digital age.

Mr Klaus Schneider had worked for the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) before his appointment as Managing Editor of Asiavision. He spoke of the early days of slow and unreliable technologies until hot switching by satellite and the migration to Asiasat had improved quality and speed of access. 

“This not only reduced costs significantly, but dramatically increased the quality of transmissions,” Mr Schneider said. “A former Newsfilm colleague called me in those days, elated at what he called ‘finally clear pictures from Asia’.”

The fourth former head, Mr Alan Williams, told how he had been working for RTB-Brunei when Asiavision was launched and they had no idea whether the new service would survive.

“But here we are, 30 years later, and it has gone from strength to strength, bigger and better than ever,” he told the gathering. “The heart and soul of Asiavision is, of course, you the members. Your commitment has made Asiavision what it is.”