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ASEAN Voices through ASEAN Communitys Challenges
By Rawikarn Dechdi, 4th year Communication Arts Faculty, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
In the world today, social media has developed many powerful applications which have become one of the tools that youth might possibly use to help create their own community.
The concept of producing content for youth by youth through social media is one of the great ways to build ASEAN community. Still, in reality, there are some certain challenges within each country including time and resources to experiment, the countries practices and policies, and the culture of Internal and external collaboration.
Kyaw Moe Hter, an attorney at law from Myanmar, admitted that in his home country, there are a lot of censorship on social media like blogspot, twitter and some political websites. He mentioned that these new media censorship were done by the government because they do not want people to know about the outside or something that might interfere the solidarity.
Kyaw said that there are some social network that has not been censored i.e. facebook. Nevertheless, the internet speed in the whole country is very slow. Therefore people still get a very limited access to the internet.
He, however, mentioned an interesting way of getting information that has been blocked. People could read some of the banned information from the links on the non-censored website. The links were sent by the Burmese that live outside the country where they are able to access the banded websites.
Another country that is well known of web censorring is China. A country where all kinds of social media e.g. facebook, youtube, hotmail service, and search engine like google were banned. Ying Wang, a Chinese student that currently attending a university in Thailand, gave her opinion on these Chinese media censorship that the reason that the government have been censoring those media because they feel that some comments or regulations on these social media might be offensive to the government.
Ying also mentioned that people still try to find the devices to help access the banned website but it is always meet some difficulties and the inconvenient, so most people just quite doing that eventually.
Ying suggested that there might be a possible way of solving the problem by negotiating with the Chinese government and express the good will and the willingness to build the community networking in China as well as to gain power of the people to really get going and ask them for the supports.
Not only the media censoring, but the also the persuasive abilities of youth to get people in is a major challenge for building an ASEAN community.
A student from Nanyang Technological University and a representative Singapore, Jeanette Tan, said after attending the ASEAN Media forum 2 that in practical, it might be quite difficult in the beginning for all representatives to go back to their country and get all the youth to get to know and really get involved in ASEAN.
Because we are just one that representative the countries and we have to go back and need to get in touch with the other youth. We also have to really go ahead to contribute our work and go out to find friends who contribute their work as well, said Jeanette.
She also emphasized that the social network that are going to be the tool for creating ASEAN youth community is also important, especially its appearances that must be user - friendly and the branding have to be easy to remember.
As an adult, Chi Chi F. Robles, a TV anchor from the Philippines also saw that a one good way of uniting ASEAN is using social media because social media is a form of media that most youth are already use and familiar with.
Chi Chi, however, realized the problem that some certain countries have a political restriction and censorship in some website. So she pointed out that it is does not necessary to use the same website or same kinds of networking in each countries to communicate with each other but using a simple thing like email services or websites that are available in each country in order to reach the people to share ideas, discuss and argue over some particular topic.
As long as you have a dialogue and conversation, there will always good and it lead to a better understanding and peace to all, said Chi Chi.
Agree with Chi Chi, an editor of The Asia-Pacific Internet Handbook, Madanmohan Rao from India stated that not every media is blocked, therefore, there are always some alternative ways of providing affordable access to in each local area.
He also added the government should put up the policy to support the good activities on social media and emphasized that these activities could lead to not only making a better connection among the countries to create a good community, but also creating a space to help each other when it comes to urgent crisises like environmental disasters or other problems of the ASEAN countries.