By VIENTIANE TIMES
ASIA NEWS NETWORK
When news is reported, readers should be attracted to the story and immediately want to read it. While news reports in Laos today are quite good, they are often not sufficiently accurate and are lacking in detail.
Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith last week urged media personnel to deliver news more accurately and promptly, saying that the passing of just one hour after an event occurred was rather slow in breaking the news.
In order for reporters to deliver the news more accurately and promptly, it is necessary to build a highly talented team that enjoys their work, he said.
Reporters should be self-starters, motivated and constantly eager to learn – individually, with friends, and in other countries.
The prime minister made the comments alongside Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Prof Bosengkham Vongdara and government spokesman Prof Chaleun Yiapaoher, when he was addressing an event on Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the Lao News Agency, which was established in 1968.
Deputy ministers and senior officials were also present at the event.
He urged the media to focus on two aspects – first, the nature of the struggle and, second, education. The adoption of these two facets would enable reporters to improve the quality and effectiveness of their work.
These two important aspects of reporting consist of three things: precision, timeliness, and the delivery of news in a colourful manner, he added.
The media covers a wide range of domestic and international news and provides information about government policy and socio-economic development in Laos.
“Foreign media are constantly developing and I do not want to say that we can do better than them. But if our own media cannot yet operate in the same way, we should follow their example until we reach the same standard,” the prime minister said.
“Important news must not be incorrect – this must be avoided. If a mistake is made it must be corrected immediately,” he added.
Amid rapid change in recent years, media outlets in Laos are continuing to strengthen and modernise their work so that the news is delivered more promptly and in a direct and lively manner.
Publications should be resolute in their role as a mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party and state on the public stage, especially in this era of deepening international integration, the prime minister said.
The ministry currently employs about 3,000 people, of whom 35 per cent are women.
According to the ministry, Laos has 144 print publications, of which 29 are newspapers (including 11 dailies), 111 are magazines and four are bulletins, which are delivered to ministries, sub-ministries and departments across the nation. There are 11 radio and nine television stations in Vientiane in addition to 52 radio and 28 television stations in the provinces.
About 95 per cent of the country can be reached by radio signals, while 80 per cent can receive terrestrial television signals and the whole country can access satellite transmission.
More than 4,800 of the 8,600 villages in Laos have community loudspeakers which pass on news that is broadcast by radio.
Today’s technology is beneficial for communications so the media should find it easy to improve and be more effective. News releases should be clear and important events should be reported quickly
The media must make more effort to develop itself to serve the interests of the nation against the backdrop of international integration and the spread of information and communication technology, which serves to facilitate the economic development of Laos.
The country has benefitted from the opening up of the media market, and there are now more opportunities for Lao media to access modern technology, investment and expertise.
These days, people have much more freedom in obtaining news as they can access media outlets around the world.
Media activities under the law aim to provide information, knowledge and entertainment to target audiences, sustainably serving socio-economic development.
People in Laos have access to more than 40 foreign television channels, including CNN and the BBC, which are transmitted by cable and digital television operators. People who speak English, French, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai and other languages are able to watch channels of their choice.
Thongloun said the government had a budget for media development but it was inadequate for today’s needs.
“However, with growing regional integration and closer cooperation in all fields of development, if we need assistance, we can request help from our friends in China and Vietnam. They will support our efforts to strengthen the media,” the prime minister added.