I am pleased to send greetings to the 11th Asia Media Summit. I thank the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development for staging this important annual gathering, and for its ongoing partnership with the United Nations to train journalists and promote awareness about UN priority issues.
Your meeting occurs just after World Press Freedom Day. Independent, free and pluralistic media have a crucial role to play in ensuring freedom of opinion and expression. These fundamental human rights provide the foundation for democracy, good governance and the rule of law. They are vital for human dignity, social progress and sustainable development.
I commend the focus of this year’s gathering on media and diversity. Asia-Pacific and its media landscape are extraordinarily broad. The region is home to almost two-thirds of humanity and possesses a remarkable array of cultures, languages, lifestyles and religions. The media have a duty to reflect the strength of this diversity, encourage freedom of expression and thought, and promote social harmony and resilience in the face of challenges.
By contributing to a more nuanced understanding of the world, the media can help bring multiple perspectives to global issues, ensuring that all have a voice. This is especially important as the United Nations and the international community work to define a post-2015 development agenda and tackle other priorities, including climate change.
The media across the Asia-Pacific region have already been instrumental in raising awareness about the Millennium Development Goals. I count on you continuing to provide a bridge between communities and global decision makers as the post-2015 development agenda is shaped and implemented.
Please accept my best wishes for a productive meeting.