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ASEAN commits transforming information to knowledge in the region

ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information meet on Friday, September 22 in Vietnam. (Contributed photo)

MANILA, (PIA) -- The ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information gathered to set the stage for a transformative future, highlighting the pivotal role of information in shaping the region's future priorities and directions for cooperation while jointly achieving the priorities of the ASEAN community.

This was the message of Vietnam Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan during her keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 16th AMRI meeting in Da Nang. This biennial event aims to identify future priorities and directions for cooperation, fostering unity among member states and dialogue countries while advancing the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

The cooperation in promoting timely and accurate access to information based on digital capabilities turning information into knowledge to support businesses and improve people’s livelihoods, and minimizing the impact of negative information is now an urgent need, at national, regional and international levels, including ASEAN," Xuan said.

Xuan expressed hope that the ministers and delegates would engage in productive discussions in Da Nang, sharing valuable recommendations for ASEAN leaders and agreeing on concrete action plans to elevate the information sector's role.

She also underscored the urgency of timely and accurate access to information, its transformation into knowledge, and the role of digital capabilities in supporting businesses, improving livelihoods, and mitigating the impact of misinformation.

For its part, the Philippines commits to strengthening access to information in the country, according to Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director General Joe Torres Jr., when he delivered the message of Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Garafil during the 16th AMRI.

Secretary Garafil said that the PCO is continuously collaborating with different societal sectors to equalize accessibility of information in every part of the country.

The PCO commits to strengthen access to information in the country as we continuously seek and forge partnerships with international stakeholders from government, non-government and civil society organizations, development institutions, the academia, the media, and other groups and sectors.”

With the theme, “Media: From Information to Knowledge for a Resilient and Responsive ASEAN,” this conference aims to bring ASEAN member states to act proactively in the ever-changing field of communication, media landscape and information disseminations.

Garafil also said the Philippines will continue to intensify its implementation of the Freedom of Information program to give every Filipino access to information.

This is why the Presidential Communications Office, the official communications arm of the Philippine government, is keen on intensifying the Freedom of Information program through its information-dissemination platforms and mechanisms which have made every effort to reach the Filipinos from the national level down to every local government units to inform every Filipino of the right to information.

The PCO chief then highlighted the essential role of the media in upholding the right to information.

She said that the media not only acts as a watchdog for promoting accountability but also the bridge that connects ASEAN nations.

Media is the cornerstone that connects the diverse nations of ASEAN, transforming information into knowledge that empowers our citizens and strengthens our collective resilience and responsiveness,” she added.

Garafil also highlighted the measures the government is taking to protect and support free and independent Philippine media.

We have a number of programs and initiatives in place to support the media under our Presidential Task Force on Media Security and the Commission on Human Rights to increase the protection of members of the Philippine media.”

The launch of the Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Project under the Marcos administration also signifies the strong commitment of the government in fighting fake news and misinformation.

The MIL project was launched last August 14 in the City of Manila, with PCO signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

She said the campaign will be taken from schools to communities through conversations with local officials, employees, and residents.

The 16th AMRI is a platform for ASEAN ministers, senior officials, and delegates to discuss ways to enhance regional cooperation in journalism, radio and television broadcasting, the internet, and ASEAN awareness improvement.

The Philippine delegation was led by PIA Director General Joe Torres Jr., together with him is PIA National Capital Region (NCR) Chief Emver Cortez and Creative and Production Services Division (CPSD) Head Bradley De Leon. (PIA-NCR)

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Jumalynne Doctolero

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