SAARC information Centre, Kathmandu, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Mass Communications, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, organized a ‘Media Workshop on SAARC’ in New Delhi on 6-7 June 2011.
1. The workshop took note of various initiatives taken by the SAARC for the last 25 years particularly SAARC Social Charter, Charter of Democracy, SAFTA, Food Bank, South Asian University, SAARC Development Fund. These initiatives are significant for socio-economic development of the region.
2. The workshop noted that the SAARC Secretariat through the SAARC Information Centre (SIC) is making concerted efforts to take the activities and achievements of SAARC to the wider audience within and outside region. For this the SIC is working towards creating a strong network of communication both inside the SAARC region and beyond.
3. The two - day workshop held at Indian Institute of Mass Communication in New Delhi (06-07 June 2011) was attended by delegates from Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Director (IPA), SAARC Secretariat also attended.
4. After extensive deliberations on the SAARC Plan of Action on Information and Media (1998), the workshop made the following unanimous recommendations:
i)SIC should function as Regional Media hub for the dissemination of information about SAARC initiatives, programmes and activities.
ii) SIC should develop linkages with existing government information systems in the member countries like Press Information Bureau (PIB), Press Information Department (PID).
iii) SIC should hold a meeting of Heads of leading News Agencies of member countries to forge closer cooperation for better flow of information regarding SAARC activities.
iv) SIC should organize a meeting of Media Heads and Editors of the region before every SAARC Summit.
v) Revive and enlarge SAARC Audio Visual Exchange (SAVE).
vi) SIC should encourage joint production of documentaries on common issues of the region.
vii) SIC should organize every year a SAARC Film Festival on a rotation basis in member countries in coordination with their respective film festival authorities.
viii) SIC should organize orientation workshops for media persons on regular basis in cooperation with training institutes of the member countries.
ix) SIC should organize a workshop of representatives of various media training institutions of the region to develop a SAARC orientation module to be included in the syllabi of media training institutes in the member countries.
x) SIC should organize a meeting of experts from the region to evolve SAARC guidelines on transnational satellite broadcasting.
xi) The increasing role of SIC in taking SAARC to masses requires more resources from the member states.