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MEDIA 2020 – Meeting of Minds

The second Media 2020 conference was held for the first time in Asia yesterday in Beijing. In his welcoming speech Dr. Yan Cheng Sheng, Deputy Director General of the International Department of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China, said that the conference, inaugurated last year by Radio Romania is all about the future of media which has to adapt to the new environment. He added that traditional media has been shocked by the rapid development in new technologies and platforms. Dr. Yan Cheng Sheng stressed: “No media can do well under the new condition on its own and that is why it is vital to expand the exchange of ideas and values between countries and regions.”

The President of Radio Romania, Mr. Ovidiu Miculescu, said he was ready to learn and to teach, to inspire and be inspired. He said that East and West face similar problems and challenges and they have to act together as a team in the interest of the broadcasting industry.

The Secretary – General of ABU, Dr. Javad Mottaghi, welcomed the delegates by saying that the ultimate purpose of media remains unchanged and it is to serve the audience.  What is changing are the new platforms offered by the constantly evolving technologies.

The first session of the conference was about technical innovations. It focused on the development of Ultra High Definition TV and the surround sound. Ms Wang Pei, engineer for CCTV, noted that the 4K TV is making a rapid progress in China and this year the number of 4KTV sets is expected to go over 20 million.

Mr. Toni Fiedler of Fraunhofer informed about the latest development in Surround Sound recordings focusing especially on sporting events.

In contrast, the second session was all about content. Mr. John Maguire of France 24 gave practical examples of digital storytelling, which empower local communities in Africa.

Mr. Barry Keoohane , Media and Communications specialist from Australia, asked the question “When everyone is on every platform and we are all using the latest technology and techniques, what will separate us?” In his opinion that magic ingredient will be storytelling. He advised conference delegates to put people on air who have stories to tell. “It is even harder to engage with an audience now with so much media competition about, but great storytellers will help you do that,” he said.

The complex relationship between journalism and social media was discussed by a panel including Mr. Toshiyuki Sato, special controller, Japan Broadcasting Corporation International, Mr. Alexandre Pletser from RTBF, Belgium, Mr.Yang Jihong, New Media Department of CCTV and Mr. Rhys Holleran, Media CEO Australia. All panelists were unanimous that while presenting new opportunities, social media sources of information should be treated with the necessary skepticism and should carefully be checked and verified through more traditional sources.

Digital radio was another theme of discussions with information about the spread of the new technology in Europe and beyond. The delegates heard detailed accounts from Australia, Ms Joan Warner, and Europe, Mr.Graham Ellis, EBU Radio Committee.

Later the participants turned their attention towards the possibilities of song festivals in Asia and Europe for promoting culture. Ms Irene Jungeun Kim spoke about the situation on the Korean music market and emphasized the need for an Asian song festival in the line of Eurovision Song contest.

Ms Oltea Serban of Radio Romania switched to classical music and informed about the forthcoming festival RadiRo, a unique platform for radio orchestras.

The conference ended with a high level panel discussing strengthening and deepening the cooperation between Asia and the rest of the world. Representatives of ABU and EBU committed to continue to work for mutual benefit along the line of co-productions, training, exchange of programmes and launching joined projects.

The 3rd Media2020 Conference will be held in Bucharest in September 2017.