May 04, 2012
The lack of protection, limited journalism training and uncertainty about media laws make it difficult for the press to accurately portray issues affecting the Lao people.
These points were highlighted at a panel discussion entitled, “The Media Landscape in Lao PDR,” held at the UN House to mark World Press Freedom Day, a global event held every May 3 to pay tribute to the fundamental principles of free journalistic expression.
Discussions ranged from the current media laws, media practices and access to information, to the opportunities affecting media development.In his opening remarks, Minh Pham, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative urged journalists to adhere to an,“openness for debate, exchange of views and opinions.” He also emphasized how a “strong and effective media is at the heart of equitable development and is a right for all Lao people.”
The event, organized jointly by UNESCO Bangkok and the United Nations Communications Group, in close collaboration with the Lao Journalists Association, was the first time such a discussion has been held in Lao PDR.
Speakers at the event included Somsanouk Mixay, Vice President, Lao Journalists Association, Pradit Ruangdit, Secretary General, Thai Journalists Association, Etienne Clement, Deputy Director, UNESCO Bangkok, Dieter Schlenker, UNESCO Bangkok and Ms. Vannaphone Sitthirath, a freelance journalist.
Representatives from a wide range of Lao media outlets were in attendance and many shared their experiences during the ensuing question and answer session with the panelists.