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60th ABU General Assembly kicks off in Seoul

The 60th ABU General Assembly was officially inaugurated on 31 October 2023 at the Conrad Hotel in Seoul.  Hosted this year by the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) this year’s theme of the meetings is “What Comes Next? The Original Question of Sustainability.”

In his opening remarks, Dr Yan Chengsheng, the Acting President of ABU and the Director General of the International Cooperation Department at China’s National Radio & Television Administration (NRTA/RTPRC) welcomed delegates from over 52 countries and thanked the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) for hosting the event.

He also congratulated KBS on the 50th anniversary of public service broadcasting in Korea. “It’s a time of constant changes, and it calls for firmer belief and stronger cooperation,” he stated. “Media plays a strong force to facilitate social progress,” he added, urging attendees to use the assembly to explore ways to rise to the challenges of the post-pandemic era.

Kim Deock-Jae, Acting President and CEO of KBS, noted the broadcaster’s journey over the past 50 years, from its inception to becoming the representative channel of Korea. Highlighting the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and shifts in media consumption, he said, “‘What Comes Next?’ is a fundamental question that will guide us towards sustainability.”

Both Chengsheng and Deock-Jae expressed their gratitude to the delegates and the ABU Secretariat for their roles in organising this pivotal event. “I would like to extend my gratitude once again to the more than 550 esteemed participants from 65 countries,” said Deock-Jae, thanking everyone for their contribution to what promises to be a landmark General Assembly.

Secretary-General of ABU, Ahmed Nadeem, mirrored the sentiments of Dr Chengsheng by emphasizing the union’s primary mission of enhancing service to its members. Nadeem outlined key objectives, including fostering collaboration, advocating for diversity, and focusing on the sustainability of public media services. He also spoke about the importance of embracing new technologies like AI, stressing their potential to transform the media landscape.

The first day of the Assembly saw plenary sessions that included matters such as financial reports, appointments of auditors, and working procedures. Various committees also presented their work and goals, including those focusing on programming, technology, sports, news, and media development.

ABU Members’ Showcase, featuring innovative projects, the advent of new technologies, and the increasing role of AI in media brought a fitting conclusion for the first day’s agenda.