For sure there were unsung heroes from the 25th AMIC Annual Conference – those who worked behind the scenes to to make sure the experience of the conference is complete – and, among them were the ladies of Re:Communications @ Post (RE:C@P), RE:C@P is the official web-design sub-organization under Miriam College Communication Society who stepped up their game at documenting an event – their first live-updating of Facebook and Twitter accounts. With their help, we have this blow-by-blow spectator account of the conference. Read on!
Delegates Come Together on the 1st Day of the 25th Annual AMIC Conference
On September 27, 2017, Maria Mercedes F. Robles commenced the 25th annual Asian Media Information and Communication (AMIC) Conference held on the Marian Auditorium at Miriam College with a short message full of hopefulness for positive outcomes and productive discourse among both student participants and delegates from all over the globe. She then followed by a greeting to all guest speakers that comprised today’s line-up, which left students anticipating these influential personalities.
Dr. Crispin Maslog, chairperson of the Board of Directors of the AMIC community, was given the stage to express his greetings as well. He had also given understanding to the purpose of the event seen within the theme: “Rethinking Communication in a Resurgent Asia”. In this era where changes are instant, Dr. Maslog asked us to “pause and dig into the Asian ground under us as we rush aimlessly into the post-modern world to discover who we are.” Afterwards, everyone’s attention was directed towards the screen, where Miriam College president Dr. Rosario O. Lapuz gave her apologies for being unable to attend the event and her congratulations to the AMIC community. Her message challenged us to change the olden views of communications and disturb established mindsets with new, inventive solutions to today’s communication dilemmas.
Afterwards, Quezon City mayor Herbert also expressed his gratitude to the focus that AMIC gives to modern concerns such as fake news, online trolls and other cyber crimes. He gave his applause to the success of the social movements made by communicators, calling them “the most influential movers of the public”, which affirmed the students to believe in their abilities in discovering new ways to eradicate communication setbacks. He was then followed by Philippine Women’s University president Dr. Jose Francisco B. Benitez, who seemed nostalgic as he recounted the years since AMIC was first registered as an official organization 46 years ago. He seesAMIC as a way to question how today’s modern people and their ways of interacting challenge the accuracy of traditional communication models. This is also an idea explored by the next speaker, chairman and CEO of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication, Mel V. Velarde, who questions the applicability of western ideas of communication to eastern cultures.
Since Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo couldn’t make it to the conference, she had given her message via video. Robredo delved into the importance of practicing democracy in the country. Calling freedom of expression a vital tool in protecting the Filipino’s rights and their well being, she recognizes the role of free press in understanding the state of the Filipino citizens.
Lastly, introduced with various impressive credentials such as “awardee of the Ramon Magsaysay Award”, ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales was called to the stage. Though admitting her reluctance in attending the conference, the idea of rethinking media intrigued her as she realized that we now live in the post-truth era where truth has taken a backseat to the appeal to emotion.
After a lengthy break, the program had resumed with the first plenary with a panel full of distinguished communication specialists. The first speaker was Florangel Z. Rosario Braid, senior advisor and trustee of The Asian Institution of Journalism. He talked about the various ways that Asian Media and Communication evolved within 5 decades, the challenges they posed and how everyone may take these into mind when creating new communication models. Dhavalarsi Shelton A. Gunaratne, professor emeritus of Minnesota State University, then shared ideas of having a framework that guided people into the process communication, without it being limited to prevailing traditions and western ideologies.
Then, former founder and manager of KULT (Knowledge Utilization through Learning Tech.), Ronny Adhikarya shared the powerful platform that the Internet sphere has provided to online industries such as Uber, Netflix and Google and how these industries are slowly taking over physically established industries. John A. Lent, the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of International Journal of Comic Art,then talked on the advancements made within the communication field through animation and graphic creations.Closing off the first plenary was the giving of the AMIC Asia Communication Award to 2017 awardee Wijayanda Jayaweera.
The Academic Discourse continues on the 2nd day of the 25th Annual AMIC Conference
The Asian Media Information and Communication (AMIC) conference continued its second day on September 28, 2017 wherein Miriam College’s very own Dr. Margarita Acosta was in charge of hosting the whole program. The conference began with a message from Mr. Dasho Kinley Dorji, a media practitioner and former Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communications in Bhutan. In his speech, he talked about Gross National Happiness, a model that he strongly advocates. He gave an in-depth explanation on development being holistic and how values from our Asian roots contribute to this progress.
After Mr. Dorji delivered his message, the program proceeded to the “Plenary Session 2: UNESCO Emeritus Dialogue – Asian Philosophies, Religions and Communication” moderated by Dr. Binod Agrawal, a Board Member of AMIC Directors. The speakers for this plenary were Fr. Franz-Josef Eilers, SVD, Dr. Imtiyaz Yusuf, Dr. Su-Kyung Han, and Ms. Lorna Israel.
Fr. Franz-Josef Eilers presented his study “Religion in Asian Communication Studies” and focused only on what he deemed are the most important points of his work. According to him, religious ways and practices aren’t necessarily changed despite modernization and this is why the Asian approach to religion and communication is quite different. He talked of how communication in Asia is highly influenced by our diverse religions and emphasized that this religious culture is deeply connected in how we communicate with each other.
He was followed by Dr. Imtiyaz Yusuf, a prominent media professional who exhibited his work titled “How Asian Philosophies and Religion Influence Communication Paradigms”. His study revolved around the notions of religion being strengthened by communication, and religion, as a significant part of Asian culture, influencing how Asians interact with each other. In fact, he used some cases of disputes caused by religious differences to support his statement “There will be no peace among nations if there is no peace among religions”.
Next to Dr. Yusuf was Dr. Su-Kyung Han who collaborated with Dr. Binod Agrawal on her study named “Transnational Intercultural Communication between India and Korea Spreading Buddhism: An Ethno-Cultural and Linguistic Processes Analysis”. The two media professionals focused on communication and social relations, brought by the spread of Buddhism, between India and Korea. Dr. Su-Kyung Han mentioned that they also traced back into historical data and found that oral tradition was the key element to the spread of Buddhism from India to Korea.
Last to exhibit her work was Ms. Lorna Israel, a professor in Miriam College who presented her study on “Silence in Asian Philosophy and Religion”. She touched on key concepts from the Book of Silence and related some aspects of her work to concepts of the Dromology and the Spiral of Silence. Ms. Israel amusingly ended her segment by having everyone to be silent as they read her last slides. All of the speakers briefly talked of their studies and later answered some questions from the audience.
The plenary session was followed by a Google Talk headed by guest speaker Ms. Via Gail Tan, Head of Communications and Public Affairs of Google Philippines and Thailand. A video was played in the beginning then Ms. Tan focused on how Google aims for better communication in Asia. Graphs flashed on screen showed that Asians were the most active users of the internet and other data were explained to support these astonishing findings. Two more videos about Google’s new features were played again and a demonstration for Google Duo was executed with the help of selected participants from the audience. Ms. Tan maintained her liveliness in the auditorium all throughout the talk and ended it with a very relevant statement “We no longer go online. We live online.”
After the parallel sessions, The speakers of the third and last plenary for the entire conference, “Freedom of Expression in a Post-Truth Era”, presented their abstracts in the Marian Auditorium; while each scholar has their focus on their own locale, they have stemmed into one common denominator—fake news.
While variants of the word “fake news” have been used by each presenter (e.g. alternative facts, incidents, misinformation), it all narrows down to the machinery that has been known in social media given the wide audience. According to one of the speakers, Lars H. Bestle, he states that with so many elements composing fake news—namely lack of access, misinformation, information wars, hate speeches, and online smear campaigns—it can hardly be called journalism. The essence of this plenary emits the importance of factual information that the public deserves to know, it is a matter of gaining public trust as one said, and it is a right that every citizen of every country deserves to exercise.
To conclude the event, AMIC’s Secretary General, Ramon R. Tuazon gave his closing remarks wherein he voiced out his thoughts on the preparation that everyone under the organizing team and board of directors of AMIC went through to make the conference possible.