March 12, 2013
Lao journalists and media representatives gathered on Tuesday to meet United Nations (UN) organisation communication focal points at the UN Building in Vientiane. The organisers, the United Nations Communication Group (UNCG) and the Lao Journalists Association, are hoping to strengthen the communication channels between Lao media and the UN to promote increased and improved reporting on current development issues in Lao PDR.
At the event the journalists were addressed by the UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Minh Pham, who said: “As journalists and representatives from Lao media you play a critical role in communicating to the public the progress achieved and the challenges still facing the country, in highlighting bottlenecks and critical development issues, and in facilitating dialogue.”
The “Meet and Greet” event was the second of its kind organised in Lao PDR, with the first held in 2011. In an informal survey conducted during this meeting, many journalists acknowledged that they did not know very much about the different UN agencies, and very few had ever initiated contact with the UN. This suggests that some journalists rely on press releases as their only source of information when reporting on UN supported projects and events.
In an attempt to reach out to the journalists, the UN staff handed out contact details for Laospeaking communication focal points in each of its organizations.
“We are hoping that these events will encourage more two-way communication between the journalists working in Laos and the UN agencies, and that they will help in bringing down some of the barriers that may exist in you contacting us for information”, said Ms. Eeva Nyyssonen, Communication Officer at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), who is presently chairing the UN Communication Group.