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ABUGA 2014: 51st General Assembly of the ABU opens in Macau

The 50th Anniversary General Assembly of the ABU was officially opened in Macau, China, with special recognition of its history and an eye to the future.

Opening the official proceedings at the Conrad Sands Cotai, Dr Chui Sai On, Chief Executive of the Macau Special Administrative Region, remarked that they were celebrating their own 15th anniversary and host broadcaster TDM was celebrating its 30th.

“It is a time for celebration for ABU and its 260 members as this year marks the 50th anniversary of ABU’s foundation,” he said. “It is a pleasure that the 51st ABU General Assembly takes place in Macau.”

He said that, with the support from the Central Government, Macau had experienced relatively rapid economic development and it was important that its broadcast industry could cope with development.

“For the broadcast industry, there has been effort given by some of the members of ABU to develop new technologies and put them into the market. The Asia-Pacific broadcasters have also excelled in developing content that suit their audiences. Their achievements shape the way we see television and listen to radio today.”

TDM Board Chairman Mr Jose Manuel Rodrigues, reminded delegates that the Macau public broadcaster had been a member of the Union since 1983, about the time it was created, and had been a member of the Administrative Council since 2004.

He said that from modest beginnings, TDM was now on multiple radio, television, online and social media channels. 

“The proliferation of platforms allows our audiences to choose the content they want and when, where and how to view or listen to what we create for them,” he said. “As public broadcasters we need to ask ourselves how can we best serve audiences in the digital era? We need to discuss how the future is going to be like for us, broadcasters, in this new fragmented media world.”

The ABU’s Acting President, Dr Ahmad Jailani Muhamed Yunus congratulated hosts TDM and Macau, with its own distinctive cultural identity based on its own unique history.

“I see that distinctive identity as a positive contribution to the brilliance of the mosaic of broadcasters which I am honoured to serve as ABU Acting President,” Dr Jailani said. 

He explained that for 50 years the ABU had been the united voice of broadcasters from all corners of the vast Asia-Pacific region.

“The ABU is not merely an association of members broadcasting to mass audiences. It is a diverse membership representing through its programming a huge variety of different audiences, languages and cultures which contribute to that mosaic. The purpose of the ABU is to provide unity through that diversity and in that unity there is strength, the strength of different members cooperating for the common good.”

He pointed out that more than 60 per cent of the world’s population was represented at the General Assembly and the ABU would continue to lead in exploiting new scenarios while interacting with audiences as never before.

ABU Secretary-General Dr Javad Mottaghi praised the “visionary men” who launched the ABU half a century ago.

He said the industry had moved far and beyond recognition in the past 50 years, merging boundaries between print and electronic media, between producers and consumers of media and that the region itself was also witnessing another paradigm shift, with decision-makers and authorities becoming aware of the media as a power for good.

“We are proud to think that in part this is because of the ABU’s great efforts in championing the power of media for nation development,” he said.

“Today, there is realisation that media must be a major partner in facing the challenges of the digital divide, disaster risk reduction, sports rights acquisition and gender awareness to mention a few. A whole new agenda has appeared in the very recent few years led by the esteemed members of the ABU.”