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Lao Minister opens UNESCO workshop for journalists

©Vientiane Times

©UNESCO/R.Manowalailao

©UNESCO/R.Manowalailao

©Vientiane Times

27.05.2011

Deputy Minister of Information and Culture of Lao PDR (central) recently presided over an opening of UNESCO workshop ‘New Media Production for Journalists’ at the Lao Press in Foreign Languages office in Vientiane stressing the importance of new media in developing the country.

In his opening remark, Prof. Dr. Bosengkham Vongdara stated that new media is very crucial in improving the media in Laos to achieve the knowledge and information based society.

“We now live in a borderless era that people can receive the news in the moment that an incident occurs wherever they are in the world via this use of new media. And with various sources of news and information people will be able to select and make an informed judgment,” said Mr. Vongdara.

“Twenty years ago accessing to Internet in Laos might be something unusual but today it is quite easy for students and educated people to use the Internet. Hence media personnel must develop themselves and better the new media of their news agencies. These day people have less time to read newspapers or watch television for information. The new media is the tool that is most close to people and brings people to information fastest,” he added.

According to Vientiane Times, there are 500,000 Internet users in Laos, who have access to multimedia, online news and social networking.

Today the internet is widely use in Laos but the number of Lao language websites is few when compared to neighboring countries. This is because Laos lack human resources, especially information and communication technology staff.

Bountieng Chanthavong, a journalist from Lao National Radio said: “Most people who create website for media in Laos do not have background or education in IT. Our web technicians are mostly those who attend the IT workshops or training and study by themselves.”

The UNESCO new media workshop brought 22 journalists including webmasters and reporters who write news articles for websites from print, radio and television in Vientiane. Its aim was to train journalists to create websites, conduct interviews using digital recording devices and video cameras and produce clips based on the “5 Ws & How” principles as outlined by media experts from UNESCO Bangkok and Australia.

“Media in Laos are very interested in this workshop, said Mr. Savankhone Razmountry, Director-General of Lao Press in Foreign Languages. “The workshop initially limited the numbers of participants to 15 but due to the great interests of the media, there were 22 participants which reached our maximum.”

“Besides, with the presence of the Deputy Minister, it showed that the government was very interested in the media development in Laos. It is hoped that such kinds of workshops would be continued,” added Mr. Razmountry.

The workshop took place from 24-27 May 2011 at Lao Journalists’ Association in Vientiane. It was organised by the Lao Journalists’ Association and Lao Press in Foreign Languages in collaboration with UNESCO Bangkok.

The Lao Press in Foreign Languages and Lao Journalists’ Association regularly organise training courses for Lao journalists but most of them focus on methods of writing general news articles or socio-economic and environmental reporting.

In Lao PDR, nationwide there are currently 43 radio stations, including FM and AM frequencies, 32 television stations and 90 print media outlets, of which eight are daily newspapers. More than 90 percent of these media organisations do not have websites and only one daily newspaper provides online news and short news messages through mobile phone services.

 

By Rojana Manowalailao, UNESCO Bangkok