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Asia Journalist Association Holds 2007 Plenary Session in Korea
By Kang Seok-Jae
Senior Writer
AJA members from many Asian countries are trying Buddhist style food at Baekdamsa Temple in Injegun, S. Korea's Gwangwon Province on Dec. 2, 2007.

The Asia Journalist Association held its 2007 Plenary Session at the Baekdam Temple in Inje-gun, Gangwon Province, Korea on Dec. 1, 2007.

The participants in the session approved some amendments to the AJA Charter, which calls for, among others, the introduction of AJA member national chapters. The new Charter also allows wider membership of the AJA.

The AJA was inaugurated in Gyeongju, Korea, on November 19, 2004 as Asia's first international media body by some 60 journalists from about 20 countries, who attended the 2004 East Asia Journalists Forum.

At the just-ended meeting, participants unanimously approved Sang-ki Lee of Korea to serve one more term as president of the AJA until the 2009 Plenary Session, while selecting Singapore's Ivan Lim Sin Chin as the next president of the AJA, whose two-year term starts from the 2009 Plenary Session. Mr. Ivan Lim serves as an advisor to the Confederation of ASEAN Journalists.

Three vice presidents were newly announced at the meeting: China's Xu Bao Kang, the Seoul Bureau chief of the People's Daily; Dolgor Chuluunbaatar of Mongolia, secretary general of the Confederation of Mongolian Journalist; and Malaysia's Norila Mohd Daud, president of the National Union of Journalists Malaysia. Korea's Seok-jae Kang was reappointed as vice president of the AJA.

Acting AJA Secretary General Oh Ryong was appointed as secretary general, who will serve as the CEO of the AJA Secretariat, which is located in downtown Seoul.

The plenary session approved the establishment of the AJA Journalists Safety and Solidarity Committee, which will be headed by Mr. Ivan Lim. Indonesia's Eddy Suprapto, former president of the Alliance of Independent Journalists Indonesia, was appointed as the vice chairman of the Committee.

The session also approved the establishment of the AJA Gender Committee, which will be led by Malaysia's Norila Daud.

The session also approved the launch of the AJA Development Fund, which will be chaired by the head of the AJA Board of Trustees.

The opening ceremony of the 2007 AJA General Assembly, which took place at the Korea Press Center in Seoul on November 29, drew about 250 persons, including delegations from some 20 countries.

On November 30, AJA delegates presented their respective countries' media situations at the village of Manhae near the Baekdam Temple. On December 1 and 2. delegates visited the city of Gangneung on the Easet Coast and the Naksan Temple.

AJA Statement

The Asia Journalist Association (AJA) held its 2007 Plenary Session at the Baekdam Temple in Inje-gun, Gangwon Province, Korea, on December 1-2, 2007.

For the promotion of solidarity among Asian journalists and for the development of the Asian media industry, participants in the AJA meeting decided as follows:

The Asia Journalist Association will establish a Committee on Journalists Safety and Solidarity.

The Committee is tasked with producing action plans against journalists' assassinations, kidnappings and imprisonment.

The Committee will closely cooperate with the United Nations and the International Federation of Journalists, if necessary, to fight media-repressive governments or forces.

The Asia Journalist Association will launch a Press Development Fund for the development of the Asian press.

The Asia Journalist Association adopted the following resolution in connection with its major projects for 2008, such as the protection of press freedom, the relief of kidnapped and imprisoned journalists, the climate change in Asia, and a successful hosting of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

December 2, 2007


The Asia Journalist Association puts top value on the protection of journalists for the promotion of press freedom.

In this regard, the AJA has maintained its international solidarity over the last three years.

We, however, witnessed recently that scores of journalists in Myanmar were killed, imprisoned, or kidnapped.

The AJA, thus, calls on the Myanmar government to immediately stop its media-repressive actions.

The AJA will charge the Myanmar government in connection with the action, while informing the United Nations and the International Federation of Journalists of the seriousness of the media situation in Myanmar.

We resolve as follows:

— Immediately release all the imprisoned journalists with no condition.

— Thoroughly investigate the government officials and institutions involved in the killings of journalists.

— Immediately take disciplinary action against those involved in journalists' killings and kidnappings.

— Immediately drop media-repressive measures such as the closure of Web sites and pre-censorship.

All the participants in the 2007 AJA Plenary Session

On December 2, 2007

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Mr. Kang Seok-Jae serves as a senior writer for The Seoul Times. He teaches as a part-time professor at his alma mater, the Graduate School of Interpretation and Translation at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, and the Seoul University of Foreign Studies. Mr. Kang also serves as secretary general of the Asia Journalists Association and the Asia coordinator for the International Federation of Journalists.






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