President of Confederation of Thai Journalists,
Vice President of Confederation of ASEAN Journalists
Your Excellency, Dr. Uttama Savanayana, The Minister of Industry
Mr. Thuan Huu, President of the Confederation of ASEAN Journalists
Honourable Delegates of CAJ
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the Confederation of Thai Journalists (CTJ), I would like to welcome all of you to the 19th General Assembly of the Confederation of ASEAN Journalists. And for those of you who are from abroad, once again, welcome to Thailand, the “Land of Smiles”. I hope you have been enjoying your stay here since your arrival.
First of all, I would like to thank Your Excellency Dr. Uttama Savanayana for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to deliver a keynote speech at this forum this morning. We are certainly looking forward to hearing your vision and insights on this very crucial subject of how the media need to adjust themselves to cope with the digital challenges in the so-called the Age of 4.0.
CAJ is one of the oldest regional media organizations in Southeast Asia. Since its founding in 1975, CAJ has played a very significant role in forging cooperation among media practitioners in the region and in the process creating a better understanding among peoples in the region through information sharing, personnel exchanges and regular dialogues.
Ladies and Gentlemen
As we all know, over the past four decades, countries in Southeast Asia have gone through major changes both politically and socially. And CAJ has always been there serving as a bridge for peoples of diverse historical and cultural backgrounds in the ASEAN region.
The role of such regional media organizations as CAJ is growing even more important as we face greater challenges from globalization and the fast-evolving media landscapes. During its 18th General Assembly held in Hanoi in November, 2015, CAJ recognized these challenges and the need to adapt to the changing conditions and environment. Under the able presidency of Vietnam Journalists Association and strong support from all CAJ members, CAJ has been able to move forward under the Action Plan adopted as part of the so-called “Hanoi Declaration” in strengthening the solidarity and cohesion among journalists and media organizations in the ASEAN Community in facing these changes and challenges.
There is no denial that new information technology is posing unprecedented challenges to the traditional media. When CAJ was set up 42 years ago, newspapers were the most important news medium. Today, people anywhere in the world can have access to news and information whenever they want – thanks to the rise of digital media which have enabled everyone to play the role of journalists.
The 19th General Assembly of CAJ in Bangkok today, therefore, will be another crucial development to further enhance the role played by CAJ. One of the major tasks on the agenda of the meeting is to approve amendments to the CAJ Charter which are necessary to make the regional media organization more dynamic and relevant. The meeting will also be an important occasion for CAJ to re-emphasize its objective of promoting a healthy, free and responsible press as being crucial to national development.
On behalf of CAJ, I would like to extend a special welcome to our friends from the Club of Cambodian Journalists (CCJ) which is officially joining CAJ as a new member at the 19th General Assembly in Bangkok. At the same time, our friends from Myanmar Journalists Association (MJA) are also attending the meeting as observers. So we can say that the spirit of ASEAN is in full display at the 19th General Assembly of CAJ. And also attending as observers are our long-time friends from the All China Journalists Association.
Speaking on behalf of all the CAJ members, I also would like to express our special thanks to Mr.Thuan Huu, President of Vietnam Journalists Association, for your excellent contribution as CAJ president for the past two years Your CAJ presidency and the role played by Vietnam Journalists Association have helped revitalize the role of CAJ in forging closer cooperation among its members in this very challenging time indeed. Of course, that means the Confederation of Thai Journalists will have a very hard act to follow when it takes over the presidency from you.
Ladies and gentlemen
I would like to thank all the government and private agencies that have rendered necessary support to make the hosting of the 19th General Assembly in Bangkok possible. Our special thanks go to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Ministry of Culture, Air Asia and Bangkok Airways.
And once again, on behalf of the Confederation of Thai Journalists and Confederation of ASEAN Journalists, I would like to welcome all of you to the 19th General Assembly and I wish all of you from overseas a pleasant stay in Bangkok and a safe trip home.