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What do you think the mass media should do to improve?

To mark 73 years of the Mass Media and Publishing Day in Laos, Vientiane Times asked some officials and members of the public about their views on what needs to be done for the improvement and development of this sector to meet the new requirements of society amid the popularity of social media.  

Ms Bounmy Bounphithilad, an official of Luang Prabang province: The mass media is responsible for delivering all forms of information to the public, and it is central to advertising and communications. In terms of the current situation, I think the content should be improved so it’s easier for everyone to understand the messages being put across. It’s also important to change the way the news is delivered to make it more interesting to young people. Of course, state-run media provides correct information that is backed up with genuine sources which can be trusted. I urge everyone to get their information from official sources. But I think the media needs to make a lot of improvements, such as speeding up news delivery and cutting out some uninteresting content so that readers don’t get bored.
Mr Souvanh Vilayseng, the Director General of Lao National Radio: Mass media is central to circulation of information, advertising and communications. Today, the mainstream media is facing strong competition from online platforms. Most people are more interested in new forms of media rather than traditional forms. I think Lao mass media organisations, including their staff, should learn how to use modern technology. In addition, the content should be informative, interesting and useful so that more people want to follow mainstream media. They also influence the way people look at the world and give them new ideas and opinions.

Ms Phimmany, an official in Vientiane: I think there’s room for improvement in the media industry, such as providing more interesting and relevant content and giving more details, as this is what readers want. Media is the greatest and most efficient way of linking a society together. It transmits culture to large numbers of people at the same time, giving a sense of cultural unity and identity. The language used in some newspapers is incorrect and does not follow the rules of Lao grammar. It’s essential to use simple words that are clear and easy to understand, because readers come from different backgrounds. I’d also like to see the news being delivered more quickly, especially in online formats, so that readers are kept up to date. 
Ms Mina Souvannavong, an official in Vientiane: Of course, people want to get information through various media channels every day. The media in Laos has improved significantly and is now more colourful, whereas in the past, it could be described as just black and white. This makes it much more attractive. Online sources can spread news so much faster via the internet and social networks. The rapid update of information also creates more enthusiasm among journalists. But only a few web pages are reliable and officially acknowledged. I think that if old forms of media are not made more attractive, they may die out. Media organisations must improve their news content, deliver it more quickly and ensure it’s as up to date as possible, and of course the information must be clear and correct. Print media, in particular, should include new topics and cover the latest developments.
Mr Somesavath Phongsa, the Director General of the Mass Media Department:  Online media, or new media, is gaining in popularity in Laos as it provides information everywhere through the internet. It’s so easy to see what’s going on in the world, as it’s all there at our fingertips. But some of the information posted online may not be accurate because those who upload it may not be employed by an official media organisation. In contrast, traditional media outlets such as television, radio and newspapers, together with magazines and village loudspeakers, broadcast only true and official information. Therefore, the whole society is requested to consume news in a conscious way. The Lao media must study and strengthen content that may affect the policies of the party and the government. At the same time, Lao media must develop itself to be advanced and high quality, while being able to use modern technology correctly.


By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update August 14, 2023)

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