Media Forum draws to a close

The Media Forum in Jakarta closed after two days of insightful, practical and sometimes passionate discussion of the impact of digitalisation on independent news media.

The final day of the Media Forum – co-hosted by Indonesian radio news agency KBR68H – kicked off with a discussion of the main trends in digital media in Asia. More than 100 participants from 25 countries heard how social media is becoming increasingly important as a source of criticism in China and how even the foothills of Everest are now digitally connected. The incredible growth of mobile devices in India and China, combined with developments by the technology giants of East Asia, mean that the region is in many ways now driving the digital revolution.

A dynamic session on learning from experimentation highlighted the division between those reluctant to invest in digital media until revenues can be assured and those advocating engaging in digital media immediately. A panel then focused on Digital News Ventures, which was set up by MDLF to make early-stage investments in news and information businesses, with two investees from Russia and Brazil explaining their projects.

Other panels examined issues such as the evolution of TV and the power of data – is it just to be used to create visually attractive graphics or can it be used to reveal otherwise hidden trends and patterns to inform regular reporting?

The Media Forum closed with a moving discussion by a panel of Burmese journalists who assessed the dramatic changes in their country. They explained how they exercise their new-found media freedom and how many journalists have returned after more than 20 years in exile.