Malaysian Minister of Communications and Multimedia Salleh Said Keruak. (Source: VNA)

Kuala Lumpur, April 5 – Malaysian Minister of Communications and Multimedia Salleh Said Keruak has proposed establishing a news agency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the first ASEAN Editors Summit.

Addressing more than 100 delegates who are editors-in-chief of news agencies across the region in Kuala Lumpur on April 5, the minister said the time has come to establish the ASEAN News Agency, which could play a significant role in strengthening ASEAN cooperation in many fronts.

He pointed to the fact that almost every ASEAN member faces cross-border issues relating to security and national sovereignty, and such issues should be reported in a cordial and transparent manner so that it does not further complicate conflicts, both regional and global.

“As such, strong ties among media organisations must be nurtured to maintain regional peace and harmony,” the minister said.

Zulkefli Salleh, General Director of Malaysian News Agency (Bernama), called attention to the fact that the regional integration process in the media field has lagged behind the economic, political and social integration.

He said ASEAN news agencies currently rely on international news agencies for coverage of what is going on in their neighbouring countries as few regional agencies have representative offices in other ASEAN nations, and called for a closer cooperation among agencies.

AKP Mochtan, ASEAN Deputy Secretary General in charge of community and business issues, highly appreciated the idea of the ASEAN News Agency, emphasising that such an agency will contribute to further pushing forward integration and linkage within the bloc.

The 2016 ASEAN Editors Summit will take place for two days, with discussions focusing on boosting the role of the mass media in promoting the ASEAN Community and the bloc’s unique cultural features, among others.-VNA