Asia News Network celebrates 20th anniversary, commits to bringing region closer

Asia News Network (ANN) members try out local food from around the region to mark the 20th anniversary of ANN, in Seoul on April 26, 2019. PHOTO: THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

SEOUL - Asia News Network (ANN), an alliance of 24 leading media organisations, celebrated its 20th anniversary on Friday (April 26) and committed itself to bringing the region closer through editorial, digital and business efforts.

Its board members made the commitment at the end of a two-day gathering in Seoul.

ANN, founded in 1999, has set its sights on being the leading alliance of Asian media titles that will collaborate across platforms to promote free and responsible journalism, bring Asia closer and tell the story of the 'Asian century' to the world.

The alliance plans to create a new media hub of content and build a cross-border content sharing opportunity for members through social media posts, although further details are still to be worked out.

Its reach of members via Facebook alone is close to 90 million, with followers of China Daily accounting for the biggest share.

The voluntary alliance will diversify its engagements in the region through conferences.

Members of the board will also strive to build a chapter of younger media leaders in the network.

Warren Fernandez, Editor-in-chief, The Straits Times and Singapore Press Holdings' English, Malay, Tamil Media Group, said: "Today, as we mark the 20th anniversary of the ANN, the board took some major steps to secure its future, committing to work more closely together to bring content to audiences in new ways in this new digital media age.

"We are also committed to developing the next generation of our journalists and editors in our newsrooms to commit them to working collaboratively towards our goal of bringing Asia together."

Mr Fernandez was voted in as chairman of the alliance for the coming year.

The group consists of 24 leading media titles across Asia. The collaboration was formed to reduce content costs for members at the height of the Asian financial crisis.

The Straits Times is a founding member of the alliance.

Members have gone on to collaborate on several editorial projects, host conferences in different countries and engage heads of governments in conversation, including Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. ANN members exchanged views with South Korean President Moon Jae-In at the Blue House on Thursday.

Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star, Bangladesh said: "ANN has been a very good example of media collaboration that has enriched the media coverage of member countries and promoted the diversity of the Asian region."

Chon Shi-yong, chief editorial writer at The Korea Herald said creating synergy and continuing to provide quality journalism, while maintaining journalistic integrity, will be the key challenge for ANN.

The grouping celebrated its anniversary with a special street food tasting session in seven Asian cities that was broadcast live on Facebook through the social media pages of members.

The grouping's members are: Bangladesh's The Daily Star, Bhutan's Kuensel, Brunei's Borneo Bulletin, Cambodia's The Phnom Penh Post and Ramsei Kampuchea, China Daily in China and Hong Kong, Taiwan's The China Post, India's The Statesman, Indonesia's The Jakarta Post, Japan's The Japan News, Laos' Vientiane Times, Malaysia's The Star and Sin Chew Daily, Mongolia's Gogo Mongolia, Myanmar's Eleven Media Group, Nepal's The Kathmandu Post, Pakistan's Dawn, Philippines's Philippine Daily Inquirer, Singapore's The Straits Times, South Korea's The Korea Herald, Sri Lanka's The Island, Thailand's The Nation and Vietnam's Vietnam News.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.