AMIC Sparks Dialogue on 'Asia as a Knowledge Sharing Society' in Kathmandu

KATHMANDU/May 29: Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) representatives from Nepal and India held a semi-formal discussion on Asia as a Knowledge Sharing Society in Kathmandu on 28th May 2024, aligning with AMIC’s 30th Annual Conference theme taking place in September 2024.

The discussion was witnessed by 29 participants from various institutions, including colleges, media houses, researchers, scholars, and academicians.

Laxman Datt Pant, AMIC’s representative in Nepal, presented an overview of AMIC and opportunities for research in communications and media. Pant stated that AMIC is an excellent platform for showcasing knowledge in various fields of media and research. “With proper use of AMIC, media researchers can contribute to and benefit the research field with a far-reaching impact.”

Similarly, Dr. Chandrabhanu Pattanayak, an AMIC representative in India and a well-known media academician, researcher, and journal editor, discussed Asia’s role in global knowledge and information exchange. According to Pattanayak, there is a reverse paradigm in Asia versus the West. “The West, on the one hand, emphasizes lingua franca, whereas the East or Asia emphasizes multilingualism, and, surprisingly, there have been no communication breaks or gaps between the countries,” he stated.

Dr. Aditya Shukla, an Indian academic, expressed his great pleasure at the opportunity to discuss such important issues. He said, “AMIC is doing tremendous work in the knowledge sharing field and establishing Asia as a knowledge hub. Particularly, the programme on Asia as a knowledge sharing society was well organised and programmes like such can explore the potential of Asia as a knowledge hub.”

He also stated, “If Asian countries come together and emphasize and share Asian knowledge on a high level. We can position our region as a knowledge hub. Because we are completely different from the West, and we have histories with various philosophies that have yet to be fully explored.” 

Shreeman Sharma, Research Uptake Manager at HERD International suggested that AMIC should help in enhancing the capacity of researchers and institutions in Nepal. This is an appropriate time to prioritize Nepal’s media and communication research needs, he added.  

Participants inquired about and expressed interest in AMIC’s work, as well as suggestions for how it can broaden its scope to help elevate the Asian perspective in Nepal through its rigorous work. They also discussed how Nepalese scholars can join the AMIC to contribute to and disseminate Asian knowledge throughout the world. The discussion was moderated by Bal Krisha Sah, a correspondent at the Himalayan Times English daily. (END)

AMIC Reaches Out

AMIC Reaches Out

AMIC Reaches Out to Other Asian Regions

One of the goals of the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre, Inc. (AMIC) for 2024 is to be Truly Asian. This means reaching out to all parts of Asia.

AMIC co-founder and current chairperson of the Board of Directors Dr. Crispin C. Maslog observed that since its creation in 1971, AMIC’s footprint has somehow focused on South and East Asia. For Dr. Maslog, it is time to reach out to communication professionals from other Asian regions including Oceania and the Pacific, Eastern Asia, Western Asia (mostly countries in the Middle East), Central Asia, and Northern Asia.

To achieve this vision, the AMIC Secretariat is seeking nominations for AMIC representatives. The following are the qualifications of an AMIC representative: (1) communication professional, i.e. educator, researcher, or practitioner (e.g., journalist, information officer, and PR practitioner); (2) with a wide network within the country to be represented; (3) recognized as one of the local leaders in the profession; and (4) willing to pursue the assignments as AMIC representative.

Among the duties and responsibilities of an AMIC representative are: 1) serve as the principal local contact on AMIC’s behalf in his/her country; (2) recruit individual and institutional AMIC members; (3) promote AMIC publications including journals (Asian Journal of Communication and Media Asia) and books; (4) recommend programs and projects that AMIC can pursue at the regional or national levels; (5) recommend and recruit participants to AMIC conferences and seminars;  (6) suggest topics and resource persons for AMIC-organized conferences, seminars/ workshops at the regional and national levels; (7) publicize AMIC activities widely in his/her country; (8) provide content for the AMIC website, newsletter, and social media accounts; and (9) identify and facilitate possible institutional hosts for AMIC annual conferences.

AMIC members and friends are invited to submit their nominations, along with their nominees’ curriculum vitae, to the AMIC Secretariat at info@amic.asia.

Introducing the Centre for Asian

Introducing the Centre for Asian

Introducing the Centre for Asian Studies in Africa

(Excerpts from online message of Prof. Alf Gunwald Nilsen, Director of CASA, University of Pretoria)

Our Centre aims to be a premier hub for knowledge production about Asia and Afro-Asian connections in South Africa and on the African continent. Our bedrock will be an ambitious array of innovative research initiatives that responds to Asia’s geopolitical significance in the twenty-first century, and to the concomitant need for critical expertise on the region from a distinctly African perspective. This bedrock will take its form from the deep and layered connections between the Asian and African continents – connections that are rooted in the past, which shape our present, and which most certainly will continue to animate our future in decisive ways. 

On this foundation, CASA aspires to contribute to teaching activities at the University of Pretoria and to be a resource to the worlds of government, business and work, to the arts and cultural and creative industries, and to civil society actors. We also intend to make the knowledge that we will produce a contribution to informed exchanges about Asian dynamics in South Africa’s public sphere. It goes without saying that this is needed in a context where Asia and Asian actors – both sovereign and private – are becoming an increasingly salient presence in the continent’s economic, political, and cultural life. 

At CASA, we are busy developing an intellectual agenda that reflects the imperatives of our times. These imperatives are defined by a conjuncture in which we witness the interlocking of consequential world-systemic transformations and equally consequential global challenges. 

What I mean by consequential world-systemic transformations is this – that over the past two decades, major countries in the global South have emerged as economic powerhouses and as geopolitical forces to be reckoned with, often establishing multilateral collaborations as a counterbalance to western dominance in world affairs. Asia, which from its western edge at the Bosphorus Strait to the Pacific Ocean is home to 60% of the world’s population and multiple emerging powers, and which constitutes the world’s largest continental economy, spearheads this process. When we consider in addition the remarkable global reach and influence of the continent’s cultural and creative industries, its art, and its literature, it is perhaps no wonder that the twenty-first century is also referred to as the Asian century. 

However, these transformations are deeply entangled in complex global challenges that demand keen attention and serious engagement. The world economy in which Asia has become such an important player is shot through with perverse inequalities. Just think, for instance, of the fact that 52% of global income and 76% of global wealth accrue to the richest 10% of the world’s population. Challenges are also manifest in the political realm, where an intensifying wave of autocratization has rolled back the global democratic advances made since the 1980s. And crucially, the impacts of climate change, which takes a disproportionate toll on countries and communities in the global South, and the very real possibility of climate disaster raise pressing questions about the prospects for sustainable planetary futures. 

CASA’s research agenda endeavours to take up the gauntlet that is thrown down by these interlocking transformations and challenges. We are fashioning spaces where global development challenges such as inequality and the future of work, democracy, governance and human rights, and sustainability and environmental justice can be explored – critically, independently, vigorously, and always with a keen eye with to how these development challenges are shaped by our multipolar world, a world in which Asia stands as a pivot of development dynamics. 

In doing so, we also focus closely on Asia’s role in and relationship to a changing global South. Here I want to highlight that it is not at all insignificant that CASA has been instituted at a point in time when the epistemic hegemony of the global North in academic knowledge production is increasingly being called into question and even challenged by open revolts. I highlight this because there is no denying that the field of Asian studies, as well as area studies more generally, have their roots in multiple unequal encounters – partly in the encounter between western colonial rulers and their subjects, partly in the encounter between the post-war geopolitical stratagems of the United States and the non-western world as a Cold War battleground, and partly in the encounter between a “developed” West and an “underdeveloped” Rest.  

CASA will make a concerted effort to contribute to the labour of disrupting, unsettling, and shifting prevailing ideas about the world beyond the West, and we will do this in no small part by committing ourselves to advancing epistemic justice in the study of Asia and Afro-Asian connections, as well as by making South-South collaborations a central pillar of our activities. Throughout – and in and through – our initiatives, we intend to explore what global area studies might look like when carried out from a Southern standpoint. I must admit to a certain epistemic uncertainty here: I don’t know what the end result will in fact look like, but I am convinced about the route that we must take to get there, and that is a route that proceeds via trans-regional dialogues – that is, dialogues between Asian and African scholars, dialogues between research-based knowledge fashioned in Asian and African contexts, and of course dialogues between Asian and African publics, engaging the challenges and questions that define our troubled conjuncture.  

Working at the intersection of consequential transformations and challenges and against epistemic asymmetries is daunting. However, I’m confident that this work can be done. The reason I say this is of course that Afro-Asian connections have proven themselves capable of sustaining some of the most daunting work witnessed in recent history. I’m thinking, of course, of how Afro-Asian solidarity both drove the work of overthrowing what Kwame Nkrumah referred to as the “bastions of colonialism” and underpinned the building of nations that would provide, in the words of Jawaharlal Nehru, “justice and fullness of life” to all their people. 

Now, I am not, of course, equating the building of a research centre with this movement of emancipatory world-making. I am, though, suggesting that we will do well in drawing some of our sustenance from this audacious insistence that progressive transformations are possible if our efforts are underpinned by a capacious solidarity. 

CASA, for one, will certainly do so as we go about the business of making knowledge from the global South for a changing world. 

I hope to cross paths with all of you along the way.

Indonesia’s Vice Minister of Communications

Indonesia’s Vice Minister of Communications

Indonesia’s Vice Minister of Communications and Informatics Calls on Academia, Governments to Collaborate

In light of fast-paced developments in communication, technology, and education, the academia must collaborate with governments and communities for stronger research mindsets and digital literacy skills.

Nezar Patria, Indonesia’s Vice Minister for Communications and Informatics stressed this point in his keynote address at the 29th Annual Conference of the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre held last 28 to 30 September in Bandung, Indonesia.

Patria traced the global evolution of communication studies, emphasizing the big shift from using symbols, alphabet and writing, to telephone, computer, and the internet.

In fact, he said, in 2023 alone, there are 5.16B internet users globally, representing 64.6% of the entire world population. He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought “…a major disruption in the development of communication technologies and the spread of the internet.

He also recognized that the pace by which everything is happening has led to the emergence of new programs in communication studies worldwide. These include courses in Digital Communications, Digital Media and Marketing, Digital Journalism and Media, Strategic Communication: AI, Cognition and Culture, Artificial Intelligence for Media, among others.

These developments have similarly led to new career prospects in digital-related communication studies, opening employment opportunities for digital marketing specialists, social media specialists, copywriters for social media, and AI analysts for media, to name a few.

Still, Patria said, there are emerging issues in communication studies that need to be addressed. The first is the utilization of technology such as AI for communication work, data privacy concerns, data-driven communication strategies, and ethics. The second issue relates to social media and communications where concerns on digital safe space, digital literacy, use of social media for social movements, misinformation, disinformation, and hoax abound.

Patria recommended stronger collaboration between the academia and government where research findings can be shared “to formulate strategic public communication messages for government and industry.” He also  called on both parties to work together to increase “literacy and digital skills through massive campaign and socialization of Gerakan Nasional Literasi Digital (GNLD) – National Movement on Digital Literacy and many other stakeholders to support Pemilu Damai / Peaceful Election 2024 agenda.” (END)

AMIC Holds 29th Annual Conference in Bandung

AMIC Holds 29th Annual Conference in Bandung

AMIC Holds 29th Annual Conference in Bandung

ALMOST 300 communication educators and administrators, communication and media professionals, students, and policy-makers attended the 29th Annual Conference of the  Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) in Bandung, Indonesia last 28 to 30 September.

Keynote speakers were Yoichi Mine, Executive Director of the JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development and author of Connecting Africa, and Asia: Afrasia as a Benign Community (2022), and Nezar Patria, S.Fil., M.Sc., MBA, Vice Minister of Communications and Informatics of the Republic of Indonesia.

The three-day conference was hosted by Universitas Padjadjaran (UNPAD) and Far Eastern University-Manila.

Five parallel sessions were organized, focusing on topics of primary interest to communication and media practitioners and students. Aside from exploring avenues to pursue Asiacentric and Afrocentric communication theories, the sessions also tackled steps to safeguard freedom of expression and access to information in light of regulating digital platforms. Insights and perspectives were also shared on how best to pursue collaborative Asian and African scholarships, and to determine peer learning needs among Asian scholars, educators, and practitioners amidst communication and development in Africa. There was equally interesting discussion on how mainstream media portray Asian and African societies.

Invited as panelists were experts from Temple University, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Universitas Gadjah Mada, University of the Philippines, Diponegoro University, Kenya ICT Action Network, UNESCO Paris, and UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Jakarta. Experts from Odisha, India, Universitas Padjadjaran, American University in Cairo, Office of the President of Senegal, Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services – South Africa, Indonesia Communication Scholars Association, Media Action Nepal, and Far Eastern University-Manila similarly shared their knowledge and expertise on the plenary topics.

Participants also learned about updates on AMIC’s journals, the Asian Journal of Communication and Media Asia and on parallel initiatives featuring Asian Studies in Africa and the proposed Asian-African Studies Program by the UNPAD.

At the same time, 18 parallel sessions on current and emerging communication and media issues were organized. This year, AMIC received 444 abstracts, of which 368 or 82.61% qualified for presentation in Bandung. A total of 169 abstracts of academic papers were presented by 206 participants. The abstracts will soon be included in AMIC’s 2023 Book of Abstracts.

Through a post-conference survey, participants appreciated the overall conduct and management of the conference. They also had suggestions to AMIC on the schedule, venue, speakers, logistics, registration fees, and related concerns for the next conference. (END)