Media personnel from Mekong countries broaden their horizons in China

Media officials and journalists from Mekong countries this month benefited from a week-long training programme in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, China.
The first progamme of its kind, the knowledge-sharing session ran from June 12-19 and involved 15 participants from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand, including this writer from Laos.

Inspecting new media technology used by the Yunnan Daily Press Group.

The programme took the theme "One River, One Family” and was hosted by the Yunnan Daily Press Group and sponsored by the Department of International Cooperation, the StateĀ  Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.
The press group organised the programme to broaden the understanding of participating media officials and journalists from Mekong countries about China and its southwestern province of Yunnan, so as to contribute to Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Media Summit.
Despite coming from different countries and speaking different languages, all of the participants were very happy and able to understand each other well. In addition, we had a fantastic welcome from the organisers and close attention from interpreters, who were always on hand to provide assistance to each individual if need be.
The participants enjoyed getting to know one another, sharing ideas, and taking part in activities together.
The programme taught participants about Yunnan province and its socio-economic development, including China’s Belt and Road Initiative, new media, and Yunnan’s role in Lancang-Mekong cooperation.
Of particular relevance was the visit to the Yunnan Daily Press Group and its achievements in international communication.
We also visited Kunming’s South Railway Station, the under-construction Lincang-Quingshuilhe Expressway, Qingshuihe Land Port of Mengding, Lincang Border Economic Cooperation Zone, the Mekong Magazine office, and other places of interest.
We also enjoyed eating the local food and experiencing the culture, traditions and lifestyle of the people of Kunming and Lincang in Yunnan province.
A journalist from Thailand's The Nation, Mr Sathapat Phaethong, said he was very pleased to have been given the chance to take part in the programme.
“Since the first day we arrived in the so-called "spring city" of Kunming, we have all been very grateful for the friendly and warm welcome we received from all of the organisers. The programme is an excellent opportunity for media personnel to meet up and share ideas, enhance mutual understanding, and form a strong network of cooperation among our neighbouring countrties,” he said.
“We have a huge opportunity to gain insight into media development in China and learn about Yunnan province in particular as a strategic area for regional economic development in both the short and long term.”
“We've been able to witness the construction of a highway and learn about other aspects of development in Kunming and Lincang. We realised that China is not only a place of importance to its local people but also to its neighbouring countries,” he added.
“All of the activities we took part in fulfilled the main purpose of the programme, which was to exchange ideas about cooperation, and build understanding among media personnel from the Mekong countries and China’s Yunnan province towards further Lancang-Mekong cooperation Media Summit.”
A journalist from Laos' Vientiane Mai newspaper, Mr Souliyo Sengngam, said he was delighted to be taking part in the programme along with other media staff from Laos and neighbouring Mekong countries.
“We have learnt about media development in Yunnan, especially through our visit to the Yunnan Daily Press Group. The group has undergone rapid development in production and the distribution of information to the public through the growth of technology. The group also works with other countries in the region, particularly the Lancang-Mekong countries,” he said.
“We have witnessed the impressive development of infrastructure in Yunnan, notably Kunming Railway Station and the Lincang Expressway,” he added.
“We gained a lot of experience from our visits and we will never forget everything we did and saw. On behalf of all the participants, I would like to thank the Yunnan Daily Press Group for inviting us to join the programme, and for their warm welcome and fantastic hospitality. We enjoyed it all very much and hope to be able to take part in similar programmes in the future.”
“Of course, we will try to pass on what we have learnt to the public, to contribute to the promotion of cooperation and exchange among the Mekong countries,” Mr Souliyo said.
The programme was organised to strengthen the interaction between media in the participating countries in terms of news sharing, information integration and business exchanges, thus enhancing mutual understanding and generating greater consensus.
The 15 participants attended lectures on international cooperation and communication practiced by the mainstream media in China, Yunnan’s role in Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, new media development in China, and the application of new media technology.
While in Kunming, the group also visited the 5th China-South Asia Expo which took place from June 14-20.
The closing ceremony of the programme took place on June 19 when participants showed the video clips and other items they had produced. A representative of each participating country then gave a speech about their impressions of the programme and everyone was presented with a certificate of completion.
All participants agreed the programme had been very worthwhile and had added considerably to their knowledge of regional development and integration.

By Visith Teppalath
(Latest Update June 29, 2017 )

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