Regional information ministers kicked off their 14th annual Asean conference in Singapore on Thursday, focusing on building stronger media ties.
The event, working under the theme of “Inclusive and Informed Digital Asean”, began after an opening ceremony where S Iswaran, Singapore’s minister of information and communications, welcomed everyone and noted he was pleased with progress the Southeast Asian bloc had already made in the media sector.
“All our citizens need to be prepared for this new age of digital information and technology and we must ensure that no one is left behind in this digital revolution that is sweeping across the globe,” Iswaran said on Thursday. “If we adopt the right strategies, Asean will be well-positioned as a vibrant and successful region in the globalised digital economy and new media sectors.”
A major talking point during preliminary meetings was how the issue of “fake news” has impacted private information and communications businesses. Agreeing that social media platforms have grown to become a global powerhouse, ministers were all of the belief that they should share their best practices in mitigating any harmful effects.
Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s minister of finance, said the Asean economy is forecasted to grow at a healthy 5.2 percent annually until 2022, led by Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. He added that the members must continue to stay open and connected and prepare to ride the next wave of growth.
“This next wave will be driven by technology and the digital economy,” he said.
“With our growing middle class and young population, Asean is well-placed to seize these opportunities.”