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Bloggers tapped to raise awareness on ASEAN, combat fake news

BALI, INDONESIA, Aug. 8 — In a bid to boost its online presence and create greater awareness to the public, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has tapped bloggers from different member-states to spread its key initiatives and programs within the region.

The ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information (COCI) on Tuesday formally launched the ASEAN Blogger Phase I at the Aston Kuta Hotel & Residence in Bali, Indonesia, which coincides with the grand commemorative celebration of ASEAN’s 50th anniversary held in Manila, Philippines.

In an opening speech read by a representative, Rosarita Niken Widiastuti, Director General of Information and Public Communication under the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, said the purpose of the event was to tap bloggers and their online reach to enhance the knowledge and awareness on ASEAN and spread the information to people.

The said event aims to promote the benefits of ASEAN’s development across different platforms, particularly using new media, to disseminate information on ASEAN consolidation, solidarity, diversity, and unity.

“Bloggers have access to media and can be a community spokesperson. But of course, in the delivery of information, bloggers are required to be responsible morally and ethically. They can become agents of change and bring people to a better direction,” said Widiastuti.

“With the ability to filter, search, and retransmit information with their own characteristics, bloggers have the ability to translate government language into a language that is easily understood by the public,” Widiastuti added.

Widiastuti also highlighted the bloggers’ role to play in combatting the rise of fake news or hoaxes.

“I believe that bloggers have an important role in fighting hoaxes because usually, the content written in blogs are personal and honest, based on personal experiences,” Widiastuti said.

“Before generating a content, bloggers need to analyze, read a lot of sources and include the news source. This will make the news traceable to the truth. Through his blog, bloggers have a vast opportunity in offsetting the hoax news,” Widiastuti added.

Among ASEAN’s people-centered initiatives for this year include the ASEAN Youth Interfaith Camp, Youth Ambassador, ASEAN Photo Contest & ASEAN Vloggers Contest, and Young Social Preneurs Program, among others.

The ASEAN Blogger Phase 1 from August 7 to 11, 2017 gathered bloggers from the 10 ASEAN member states, a representative from the ASEAN Secretariat, and officials and officers from the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. (PNA)

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