ASEAN Journalists Club (AJC) was established this weekend under the guidance of the TJA.

The Thai Journalists Association (TJA) has established a new journalist club for a better reporting on ASEAN issues by Thai journalists.

ASEAN Journalists Club (AJC) was established this weekend under the guidance of the TJA.

Over 30 journalists from a wide spectrum of Thai media, ranging from radios, televisions, newspapers, on-line news agencies, and such, gathered at the Secretary General to the Prime Ministers’ recreational house at Laem Than in Chon Buri province, resonating the spirit of ASEAN, under which the five Foreign Ministers were staying there to negotiate for an establishment of ASEAN in 1967.

They spent time exchanging ideas, and with the votes of the attendants, the establishment of ASEAN Journalists Club was announced.

“This is the first journalists club that focuses on ASEAN issues in the ASEAN nations and the TJA fully supports this idea.” said Chavarong Limpattamapanee, TJA President, and the club’s supervisor.

The newly established club is aimed at promoting public understanding in ASEAN issues through better press reporting.

It will support its members to report on the issues better by promoting exchanges of ideas and a body of knowledge regarding ASEAN among its members through its capacity. They will also be empowered with provisions of trainings and knowledge based forums.

And last but not least, the club is aimed at spreading its arm to reach other regional journalists organizations for more cooperation and collaboration for better and more comprehensive ASEAN reporting.

During the AJC meeting, some members proposed activities of the club in order for the club to accomplish its purposes. Initially, they agreed that the activities of the club be divided into phases.

Press briefings and information sharing will be regularly held in line with the emergences of hot issues such as Rohingya, South China Sea disputes, and such. Pooling of information and reports for big impact issues including trans-border environmental issues was also prioritized along with trainings to empower the journalists. And a long term plan for reporting on simmering and complicated issues was discussed.

The members eventually undertook a voting for the club’s first committee members. Piyaporn Wongruang, a senior journalist from the Bangkok Post Sunday and Spectrum’s investigation section was selected as its first president. Pakorn Rattanasapsiri, from Voice TV will be the first vice president of the club. Kornchanok Raksaseri, political editor, from the Nation newspaper will be the second vice president.  Nares Laopannarai, senior reporter from Krungthep Thurakij newspaper will be its secretary. Chaiwat Thongrat, from Matichon Online will be its treasurer. Tatikarn Dechchapong, from Thai Rath newspaper will take care of its membership. Nantinee Lailaeiad, an economic reporter, from Thai PBS, will take care of its public affairs, while Prakaidao Bengsantia, from Krungthep Thurakij newspaper and Nuchhathai Chotchuang, from Nation TV will take care of the club’s academic matters.

Somkiat Tangkitvanich, President of Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), an established and respected economic and social research institute, praised the initiative, saying it would help promote better understanding in ASEAN issues among the public.

However, he urged the group to also pay attention to “naturally emerging ASEAN activities” which he said would be more important in terms of impacts and changes to the community.

They are regional activities which he described as the ones which do occur on the ground, but outside a formal arrangement under ASEAN. These include ongoing border trades, emerging trans-border environmental issues, and among others.