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The staff of Vientiane Times gather for a photo to mark the newspaper’s 30th anniversary.

The Vientiane Times in a changing media landscape

This year marks yet another anniversary for the Vientiane Times, the first English language newspaper in Laos. Throughout the 30 years of its journey, this state-run media outlet has proved itself to be of public value through fast, reliable and responsible news delivery.
Born on April 7, 1994, as a department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, the Vientiane Times was created to serve as a bridge to facilitate greater understanding between Laos and the international community in line with the government’s opening-up policy, which was initiated in 1986.
Under this policy, the newspaper keeps readers informed about Party and government policies and is also a forum for members of the public to provide feedback to the authorities so they can shape public policy in line with citizens’ aspirations.
In this age of  digitalisation, which enables both misinformation and disinformation to circulate rapidly, the Vientiane Times has worked tirelessly to ensure it is recognised as a reliable, fast and accurate news provider.
Our editorial policy supports the government’s aim to use market mechanisms to distribute wealth among the general population. In this context, the business community needs accurate and reliable information to use as a reference when making decisions concerning their operations. 
The mission of the Vientiane Times, which was designed to be a voice for the nation and to safeguard the interests of the country and the general public, is unique. This reflects a combination of public administration and business operation approaches, all with the aim of producing a high-quality product that meets the needs of readers.
Through this hybrid system, the newspaper has received state support including the provision of offices and staff. But, at the same time, the newspaper has an obligation to generate revenue to support its operation and development.
Given this situation, the management is fully aware that high quality content is needed to appeal to consumers’ hearts and minds, otherwise newspapers will not sell, advertising will fall off, and other services may become unavailable.
Recognising the mission, duties and financial conditions assigned to it by the Party and government, the Vientiane Times management has worked tirelessly to improve its products and services in accordance with market demand while remaining fully accountable to the government.
Throughout 30 years of experimentation, the Vientiane Times has grown rapidly and adjusted itself to the changing environment. In 1994, the newspaper employed only a few staff and had no computers. Today it employs about 54 people, all of whom are fully equipped with modern devices for use in their work.
To begin with, the Vientiane Times was published just once a week. To address market demand, it became bi-weekly in 1996 and then became a daily newspaper in 2004. The content has also expanded from covering only policy and development in the past to an additional range of articles in relation to business and economics, which are highly relevant in today’s world.
In line with the digital revolution, the Vientiane Times website was launched in 1999 so that people around the world could read the newspaper online. In another step towards modernisation, the Vientiane Times became the first state-run media organisation to arrange online subscription payments.
In addition to producing content for the print version, the Vientiane Times ensures that news is regularly updated on its website and social media platforms, while video clips are uploaded to the website and social media platforms. Furthermore, short news messages are delivered to subscribers’ mobile phones.
Several thousand Lao and foreign readers currently subscribe to the newspaper and its electronic version.
As well as appealing to readers’ hearts and interests, the Vientiane Times management and staff have gained the trust and recognition of the government.
The newspaper and some members of staff have been rewarded for their outstanding services with first class Labour Medal Orders and Honours and Memorial Medals from the government and international organisations.
Over the past 30 years, the Vientiane Times has developed a culture that is both innovative and flexible. With a new mindset, the newspaper has proved its ability to provide a public service through the delivery of a high-quality product.
But despite the newspaper’s many achievements, the management is fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead. This includes a drop in revenue from advertising as many companies now advertise their products on social media.
In order to cope with the changing environment, the newspaper’s management has made a strong commitment to build on past successes by applying new knowledge and ideas in order to steer the newspaper into the future, which is full of both challenges and opportunities.
The newspaper has made a commitment to serve audiences by providing high-quality content as well as remaining relevant to the needs of local and international readers. The paper will continue to publish both print and digital editions and strictly adhere to international ethics of journalism with regard to accuracy, professionalism, decency, non-plagiarism and impartiality, and to abide by the slogan “fast, reliable and responsible”.


By Editorial Desk
 (Latest Update April 9, 2024)

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Vientiane Times Phonpapao Village, Unit 32, Sisattanak District, P.O.Box: 5723 Vientiane, Lao PDR
Tel: (856-21) 336042, 336043; Fax: (856-21) 336041; Email:
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