Friday, 14 June 2019

President AIBD Shri Fayyaz Shehryar's Opening Address for AMS 2019


Good morning, His Excellency Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, conference delegates, members and partners of AIBD!

Welcome to the 16th Asia Media Summit in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

This year’s theme - “Media Digitization with a focus of developing markets” - offers us an opportunity to take stock of technological advances around us, and the level of digitization, its adoption and usage, as well as impact on the broadcast industry.  

These technological developments, such as  advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT)cloud computingbig data analytics and three-dimensional (3D) printing are creating excitement in varying degrees across the globe.  

They form part of the widely acclaimed 4th Industrial Revolution the impact and benefits of which are immense for industry, government, media and society in general.

Across countries, markets and societies, digital technologies and big data are helping facilitate economic and social development, improve the quality of governance, and enhance the level of public service and transparency. Depending on the extent of adoption and implementation, digitization has proven impact of reducing unemployment, improving quality of life and boosting citizen’s access to public services.

Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, recognizes these benefits, saying that in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – our universal blueprint for building peaceful, prosperous societies on a healthy planet – “harnessing the great power of information and communications technologies can be one of the keys to success, including by opening new pathways of development and helping countries gain access to the global store of knowledge”.  
But to what extent have developing countries or even underdeveloped markets benefited from digitization and big data?

A United Nations Report in 2017 titled “Digitalization, Trade and Development” says many developing countries, especially the least developed countries (LDCs), are inadequately prepared to capture the many opportunities emerging as a result of digitalization. There are also concerns over how data flows can be harnessed while at the same time addressing concerns related to privacy and security. 

Developing countries also face other challenges. First, the level of digitization that takes into consideration issues on pricing, reliability, speed, and ease of use; second,  identification of the right technological infrastructure in specific sectors; third, provision for financial resources to adopt digital technologies; fourth, adequate supply of skilled workers with strong cognitive, adaptive and creative skills necessary for working with the new technologies, and fifth, exclusion of critical voices and knowledgeable stakeholders in utilizing digital technologies and big data for development programs.

No doubt, the overall effects of digitization will be country-specific, varying greatly among countries and sectors. Exploiting the full benefits of digitization demands effective cross-sectorial collaboration in order to craft evidence-based policies and strategies. It also requires building capacity of various sectors to collect more and better data on relevant dimensions of digitization and big data.

These technological challenges and their attendant strategies will be at the core of some of our discussions in the 2019 Asia Media Summit. Other interesting topics we will cover are: how broadcasters can adapt to the digital revolution, Envisioning media in the 4th Industrial Revolution, integration of the latest technologies in content creation, disinformation and new media, monetization in traditional and new media, and technologies for distribution of media content.

One of the highlights of the Asia Media Summit 2019 is a roundtable of CEOs of broadcast networks which will discuss digitization and its impact on media credibility. 

In recent months, AIBD has contributed towards building capacity of broadcasters in understanding advances and trends in technology and upgrading their adaptive and creative skills necessary to use new technologies. Among these were the workshop on “ Understanding OTT, IBB Technologies and their Value-Added Services,” Telling  Compelling Data-Driven News Stories, DRM Digital Radio Implementation and Rollout, Emerging Technologies for Broadcasting and Media; Production to Delivery, Broadcasting in the Age of New Media: Opportunities and Challenges.

In 2018, the Asia Media Summit in India focused on the theme “Telling Our Stories – Asia and More.” It called for impactful storytelling about Asia, home to diverse ethnic groups, religions and variegated cultures, and stressed the need to preserve, and share stories about Asia beyond its boundaries.

In one of its plenary sessions, I talked about how truth in media is vanishing and sensationalism becoming a hotcake in the market. To regain people’s trust in media, there is a need to produce compelling stories that are relevant, truthful and meant for public good. 

We trust that impactful storytelling, truthful storytelling will not be lost when we examine the breadth and depth of technological advances and digitization in the 2019 Asia Media Summit. 

The world, indeed, is experiencing profound changes, particularly in technology.

In this context, media regulators and analysts also need to look at the impact of private business houses and large corporations who own major media networks that control flow of information across the world.  Paid news and planted news are a bane for the media in developing countries, especially with the advent of powerful social media networks.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas Friedman says, quote “machines today are acquiring all the attributes of human beings: the ability to think, reason, manipulate and learn.”

This is a world, he adds, that human beings must contend with today.

No wonder, some sectors are calling urgently for a ‘new humanism’, a concept that can adapt to the pace of change, and demands a return to some core values – respect, generosity, empathy, and a culture of peace, among others.

It is an approach that can guide us in our decisions, strengthen our ability to influence, and guide our behavior and action amid the technological advances. It can help build a healthy community.

UNESCO calls it a new humanism in society that aims to create a more inclusive society. 

As we face trying times in a technology-driven world, it’s the most adaptive who will survive, and this adaptive challenge will take place at the individual level, at the community level, and at the corporate level.

And in closing, may I extend on behalf of the AIBD family my sincerest gratitude to the government of Cambodia, in particular the Ministry of Information, for hosting AMS 2019 and its generous assistance to ensure a successful conference. The august presence of the Honorable Prime Minister makes it an event extra-ordinaire.

I wish you all a productive Asia Media Summit.

Thank you. -   Saum Arkoun!

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