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Asia-Pacific and European broadcasters meeting the challenges

The ABU and Radio Romania welcomed more than 150 delegates from 32 countries across Europe and Asia to this year’s Media2020 Dialogue in Sinaia, to discuss the challenges facing broadcasting during an era of great change.

ABU Secretary-General Dr Javad Mottaghi, in welcoming delegates, reminded the conference that in today’s world nothing could be taken for granted and disruption was the new watchword. “The world is both divided and interconnected as never before,” he said. “We are in the midst of a new world order where media and the Internet reaches people like never before. “The only certainty is uncertainty. Media companies need to navigate the uncertainty.”

Romania’s Culture Minister Lucian Romascanu hoped the conference in Sinaia was “more than having a technical discussion”. “This conference is about building bridges between cultures,” he said. “We bring together our souls and this is the basis for peace.” Public broadcasters needed to understand how important the media were to people and the responsibility they held for providing accurate and reliable information. “Media’s role comes from the constitution of the country – to inform and educate people,” he said. “It is more important than ever in these times that we bring the right information to people in order to retain peace all around the world.”

The conference was co-hosted by Radio Romania whose Acting Director General, Georgica Severin, welcomed delegates from the Asia-Pacific and Europe to discuss topics of common interest. “By the year 2020 broadcasting will have undergone major transformations that will continue to challenge us,” he said. “We need to increase our content and make it more appealing and targeted to younger audiences, and we should be proactive in recognising the challenges we face every day.”

Steve Ahern, of Asia Radio Today, described how the conference commenced with speakers laying out the key trends in media development, especially the role of public broadcasters in a time of fragmenting audience attention and increasing competition. 

David Jordan, Director of Editorial Policy and Standards at the BBC, said that public service media were “the glue in our society”. He said that some media tended to polarise the community, but the job of public service broadcasters had never been to coalesce the population to a single view, but to reflect the many views of people in the country.

Fayyaz Sheheryar, the Director General of India’s Prasar Bharati, said the biggest problem facing his country’s national broadcaster was to “reach the last man”, to get media to every person in the country at the lowest cost to them. He urged broadcasters to continue to focus on content, saying that the problem of people in South Asia was loss of identity in the face of so much foreign media, which the media could correct by bringing them the world in their own dialect.

Sally-Ann Wilson, CEO of the Public Media Alliance, reminded broadcasters that, in the face of new media challenges, some traditional strength was still important to broadcasters, such as bringing people together and quality storytelling. She also urged broadcasters to “invest in media literacy” to let people know who was selling something and why, including the selling of political policy ideas. 

Media2020 combined with the two-day Public Broadcasting (PBI) Conference in Romania.

You can find more coverage at Asia Radio Today