Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has stressed the need for a balance between freedom of the press and media responsibility, saying that freedom without responsibility can sometimes lead to confusion, misunderstanding, and even turmoil.
In her keynote address at the 65th World Newspaper Congress, the 20th World Editors Forum, and the 23rd World Advertising Forum on 4 June 2013 in Bangkok, the Prime Minister said that freedom of the press is not unlimited, even in the advanced democracies. The three events take place at the Bangkok Convention Center, Centara Grand Hotel, from 2 to 5 June 2013.
Prime Minister Yingluck pointed out that a free and responsible press helps keep the public informed and the well-informed citizen is at the heart of understanding each other views. She believed that deep down, humans are good at heart. So by being more understanding, it will not only help solve conflicts but will also bring people closer together.
The Prime Minister stated that there are always considerations given to public interest and order, rights to privacy, and even national security. Moreover, there are third parties willing to distort news and information for their own benefits. So it is also important to have responsibility on the part of the press and media, based on high standards of professionalism and common sense.
She said that the issue concerning the balance between freedom of the press and media responsibility has become more complicated with advances in technology and the opening of new frontiers for media in cyberspace. Print media has made greater use of cyberspace. But this is a channel where there is great potential for both good and misuse. Incorrect information and misleading news can reach a larger number of people much more quickly. And when damage is done, it is almost impossible to reverse the effects. So the close cooperation of the editors is needed to ensure that the news and information in the internet reflects this balance between press freedom and press responsibility for the good of the public.
Prime Minister Yingluck also referred to ASEAN, saying that ASEAN is going to be one of the main engines of growth. With a combined population of 600 million with rising income and purchasing power, the potential for business growth in ASEAN is tremendous. The ten member countries are working hard toward reducing barriers to trade and investment. She is confident that a single ASEAN Community will be achieved as planned in 2015.
The Prime Minister explained that ASEAN is also working to make connectivity a reality. There are many aspects that this region can become connected. First is the physical connectivity. Free flow of goods and services cannot happen without sufficient infrastructure. Since Asia is a land and sea-based continent, connectivity means that people must be able travel and transport efficiently to all logistic hubs and new growth centers.
She said that Thailand is planning to invest 66 billion dollars in infrastructure projects in rail and road links, with a comprehensive network of high speed trains and feeder dual track rails that would connect North-South and East-West neighboring countries. Once completed, there will be high speed trains running through Thailand, Laos, and into China. In time, it will also link South and Central Asia into Russia and Europe.
Sea ports and airports are being improved and new ones planned. The Dawei special economic zone and deep sea port which Thailand is working closely with Myanmar, will open a new gateway to connect India and Sri Lanka and toward the Middle East and Africa.
The second connectivity is people to people. Asia is vast in cultural, political, and economic thinking and ways of life. Diversity can mean strength but it also can lead to conflict and confrontation. She emphasized efforts to create a better understanding between the people, organizations, communities, and societies. So education to enhance common grounds and cultural cooperation to build closer ties is important,
She believed that the news and publishing industries stand at an exciting time. There is growing recognition of the vital role of the media in promoting democracies, economic and social development, as well as understanding between the peoples of all nations.