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(Still) in Search of a Genuine ASEAN Community

The ASEAN Community is hard enough to sell to the ASEAN-6 member countries that are already on board. But it’s even more of an uphill climb when it comes to the newer member states, the CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam), due to three hindrances: lack of awareness, little enthusiasm by a weak private sector, and the public sector’s limited capacity to lead and manage regional cooperation activities. Economist Myo Thant explains why in this commentary for the Reporting ASEAN series.

 

Any Takers for ASEAN News?

The growth of ASEAN’s footprint in its constituency’s lives widens the space – and responsibility – by the region’s media to report on the challenges and opportunities of regional integration. While media can invest more in this story, ASEAN’s largely opaque approach to them doesn’t exactly speak of a maturing organisation. This shows few signs of changing radically any time soon, reflecting the less than open attitude toward media freedom by several of its member states, Johanna Son explains in this commentary.

 

 

9 Tips for Surviving (and Enjoying) Reporting About ASEAN

ASEAN – journalists and editors may love it, hate it or prefer to flee from it. But we in the media might as well know about to tell better and more relevant stories, so here at 9 tips from Reporting ASEAN editor Johanna Son for surviving – and perhaps even enjoying – reporting about ASEAN.

 

ASEAN at 50 – and Beyond

ASEAN can give itself a pat on the back for reaching the 50-year mark in 2017, having played a key in role in preserving peace and stability in the region. But though the ASEAN Way has worked, it can no longer be as passive as it has been in the past, argues Kavi Chongkittavorn in this commentary for Reporting ASEAN.

ASEAN@50? Come to the 2016 Reporting ASEAN media forum

On its 50th year, has #ASEAN matured or is it in mid-life crisis? What are the milestones as it ends its first year as a community? How do citizens see ASEAN? What face of ASEAN do the media convey in their reporting? These are just some of the questions that will be discussed at the @ReportingASEAN media forum 2016, to be held on Dec. 2-4, 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand.

 

As ASEAN Turns 50, Rights Lag Behind Eco’c Openness

ASEAN and its members’ silence on the Philippines’ controversial anti-drug campaign is just one example of how the organization pushes economic openness over political and human rights concerns, writes Tess Bacalla in this feature for Reporting ASEAN.

Applications Open: Pitch Us a Good ASEAN Story!

Big things are happening in the #ASEAN neighbourhood! The Reporting ASEAN fellowship program is inviting mid-career journalists from ASEAN countries to submit fresh, in-depth, and ideas for stories investigating issues around ASEAN regionalism.

Pitch us a story idea we can’t resist, and we’ll support it. Deadline for applications: 31 October 2016.  For application details, read more.

Thinking ASEAN, Studying ASEAN

Courses and degrees in Southeast Asian studies have been around for a long time, but the emergence of the ASEAN Community has also led to the growing number of specialisation courses focusing on ASEAN in the region and beyond, reports Candida Ng in this Reporting ASEAN story for ASEAN Day.

Expanding People’s Solidarity For A Just and Inclusive Asean Community – ACSS/APF CSO Statement

ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN Peoples’ Forum will be held in Timor-Leste this year instead of Laos, due to concerns over possible restrictions and limited freedom of expression. It is also a show of solidarity to reiterate civil society’s support for the inclusion of Timor-Leste as a full member of ASEAN. Read the full CSO Statement here.

ASEAN Lane Shows ASEAN Spirit – and Lack of It

ASEAN Lanes – special lanes at airports in Southeast Asia for travellers from the organisation’s 10 member countries – remain more a concept than a reality in the region. To date, Malaysia is the only country to properly implement the service. Kavi Chongkittavorn looks at why the other countries have yet to do so in this Reporting ASEAN analysis.

Asean Struggles To Protect Labourers

The ASEAN Community’s interest in unskilled labourers remains poor, despite the fact that this group provides the real workforce that dominates labour flows around the region. Wasamon Audjarint of The Nation looks at the reasons behind the reluctance to protect these migrant workers.

Faith Leaders Find Divine Space in ASEAN Community

Long known for their service in local communities, charity efforts and help during humanitarian disasters, faith-based groups gathered in Bangkok recently to discuss how their work could contribute to deepening socio-cultural and other linkages in the ASEAN Community. Mia Gomez reports on the meeting in this ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ story.

ASEAN Strives to Balance Ties With China, Japan

As a result of souring China-Japan ties, ASEAN finds itself being wooed by its dialogue partners. The deterioration in the two countries’ relations has led to the economic giants increasing their efforts to strengthen ties with the regional grouping. Kavi Chongkittavorn looks at ASEAN’s reaction in this commentary for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series.

Communication Arts Seminar: Reporting ASEAN

‘ASEAN’ is often seen as being a faceless organisation far removed from people’s daily lives, one that is mostly about states instead of people – and a boring subject for media. How can media redefine what makes for ‘ASEAN news’ and tell stories that look into the benefits and costs of ASEAN integration? Come listen to Johanna Son at Bangkok University on May 18 as she shares her experiences on reporting news in the ASEAN region.

Obituary: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (1967-2016)

The dispute in the South China Sea issue has already climbed up several notches in ASEAN’s agenda over the last few years. China will try different diplomatic means to push its agenda, as Philip Bowring of the Asia Sentinel argues regarding its attempts to present Brunei, Laos and Cambodia as sympathetic to its side on the maritime feud.

 

Reintegration: the Forgotten Side of Migration in ASEAN

The reintegration of Southeast Asia’s migrant workers is as important as their departure and the remittances they send home to labour-exporting countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar. But as Tess Bacalla explains in this piece for the ‘Reporting ASEAN’ series, ASEAN is unlikely to focus on reintegration when it is averse to addressing the issue of unskilled workers in the region in the first place.

Philippines, Singapore Push for Asean Solidarity, Centrality in Resolving South China Sea Rows

Two ASEAN member states stress ASEAN centrality – precious to the regional organisation – amid tensions in the swirling waters of the South China Sea. The region’s solidarity, unity and centrality are “fundamental as they are vital” in resolving issues related to the disputed body of water, the Philippines and Singapore said in this ‘Straits Times’ article by Raul Dancel.

After 10 Years of Talking, ASEAN and Activists Still Far Apart

It’s been 10 years since civil society groups in ASEAN started having annual interactions with ASEAN leaders, including face-to-face meetings at summits. But beyond making headlines, how effective have these been in influencing ASEAN’s work or its members’ policies? Mia Gomez and Johanna Son attend a meeting ahead of the 2016 ASEAN People’s Forum to find out in this story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series.

ASEAN Study Tour Gets Farmers, Gov’ts Talking to Each Other

Government officials and farmers’ groups from seven ASEAN countries went on a rare study tour together in Thailand to learn more about cooperatives in the country and also to get to know one another better. Mia Gomez looks at the effort to increase dialogue between farmers and ASEAN sectoral bodies in this story for the ‘Reporting ASEAN: 2015 and Beyond’ series.

Thais Take to A New Language: Bahasa Indonesia

Indonesian has become a popular language to learn among Thais. This is a gateway to deepening intra-ASEAN linkages, a key building block for the socio-cultural pillar of the ASEAN Community. Sathapat Phaethong (@Sathapat_P) of ‘Sawasdee ASEAN’ programme reports from Bangkok and Jakarta in this TV report for the ‘Reporting ASEAN 2015 and Beyond’ media programme.

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