Broadcasters from Asia-Pacific, Europe to work closely on digital terrestrial broadcasting

MUMBAI: Broadcasters from the Asia-Pacific region and Europe have agreed to step up the exchange of information on digital terrestrial broadcasting, to help eliminate the information gap arising from the digital divide.

The decision came at the 40th general assembly of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) in Istanbul. The three-day assembly, hosted by Turkish Radio-Television Corporation (TRT) ended on 11 October.

The assembly unanimously adopted a resolution proposed by ABU president Katsuji Ebisawa that the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union and the European Broadcasting Union work together to:

* Promote the provision and exchange of technical information related to digital terrestrial broadcasting.

* Promote the exchange of programme content produced in digital formats, and information to promote and assist in the production of such content.

The European Broadcasting Union, which was represented at the meeting, endorsed the resolution.

Ebisawa described the migration from analogue to digital television as "an irreversible global trend" that, once in place in a proper context, would bring various benefits.

Greater links with developmental organisations

To help members meet these challenges, the General Assembly discussed for the first time a strategy of bringing added assistance to the development of technological infrastructure for broadcasters by engaging developmental organisations active in information and communication technology initiatives in developing countries.

The union is increasing its relationships with multilateral institutions, overseas development agencies, non-governmental organisations and foundations in seeking funds for technology transfer, training and capacity building.

During the general assembly, the ABU also announced new projects with the United Nations and International Labour Organisation for training, content creation and message dissemination on issues relating to poverty, health, environment and employment.

Protecting broadcasters' spectrum

Before the general assembly, the ABU's technical committee, programme committee and sports group met separately over several days.

In the technical committee, the question of spectrum protection was a continuing focus. Ways to strengthen the relationship of broadcasters with their national regulatory administration were explored, to create the environment for broadcasters to be heard on their concerns about the encroachment on spectrum allocated to broadcast services.

Digital radio development also had a high profile. With the launch of Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) this year in the short and medium wave bands, there are opportunities for broadcasters to redefine their radio services with the significant improvement in sound quality and the availability of additional digital channel capacity for ancillary services.

Together with DAB radio, the arrival of DRM contributes to the first major revitalisation of radio in many decades.

Radio audio exchange a possibility

Radio continues to be an important medium for news, information, education and entertainment, and the Programme Committee agreed that radio should figure more largely in the ABU's list of activities.

The committee backed a plan to look into introducing an exchange of audio material among member broadcasters. The ABU already operates a daily television news exchange, Asiavision, and a daily exchange of radio news scripts. An ABU working party will explore the possibility of launching a website dedicated to the exchange of radio audio material.

Fighting for members sports' rights

ABU Sport is to form a strategy group made up of some of its most powerful members to professionalise its approach to the acquisition of high demand sports events like the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup.

The group, to be known as the 'ABU Sports Acquisition Group', will focus on presenting federations and other property owners with compelling arguments abut the benefits of dealing with the ABU.

"We have yielded up the commercial ground to sports marketing companies and it has cost us dearly," the ABU's head of sport, John Barton, told an ABU Sports Group meeting in Istanbul.

"It is time for us to conduct our negotiations with greater emphasis on the range and depth of benefits within the ABU membership," Barton said.

New Vice-President elected

The general assembly elected Mohammad Honardoost, vice-president, communications & international affairs, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, as a vice-president of the ABU for a three-year term.

The president is Katsuji Ebisawa of NHK-Japan and the other V-Ps are KS Sarma of Prasar Bharati and Zainal Abidin Iberahim of RTM-Malaysia

Administrative Council elections

KA-Kazakhstan and TDM-Macau were elected to the ABU administrative council. PBI/DDI-India and TRT-Turkey were re-elected.

New Honorary Councillor

The ABU's former secretary-general, Hugh Leonard, who retired in July, was elected an ABU honorary councillor.

Big turnout

The general assembly and associated meetings were held from 4 to 11 October. They attracted about 400 delegates from 77 organisations around the world.

ABU Prizes 2003

Each year the ABU conducts contests among its members for radio and television programmes. The results were announced on 9 October. Doordarshan had one winner in the ABU Engineering Industry Award category, won by Bimal Kumar De, former engineer-in-chief of DDI.

The winners in the various categories are:

Dennis Anthony Memorial Award

Joint winners:

Bangladesh Television (BTV)

Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)

The prizes were for the overall excellence of their contributions to the Asiavision news exchange during the year.


ABU Prize for Information Programmes: Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), Japan

Entry Title: Abducted

HBF-ABU Prize for Entertainment Programmes: Mainichi Broadcasting System (Member of NAB), Japan

Entry Title: Horyuji Sound Stage

ABU Prize for Children's Programmes: Korean Educational Broadcasting System (EBS), Republic of Korea

Entry Title: Yeah Yeah Yeah with Pootie Toot

ABU Prize for Sports Programmes: China Central Television, People's Republic of China

Entry Title: New Beijing Great Olympics

Radio Category

ABU Prize for Information Programmes Winner : Korean Educational Broadcasting System (EBS), Republic of Korea

Entry Title: Learn from Sweden: The Great Place for a Working Mom

HBF- ABU for Entertainment Programmes Winner : Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), Japan

Entry Title: Fairy Tales of War: Mommy Who Became a Kite

ABU Prize for Children's Programmes Winner : China National Radio (CNR), People's Republic of China

Entry Title: Listen, Write and Paint - The Bear and the Bee

ABU Prize for External Broadcast Programme Winner : China Radio International (CRI), People's Republic of China

Title: The Growth of The Internet - To Reconnect What SARS Cut Off


ABU Engineering Excellence Award: Mr Taiji Nishizawa, former Director General of the NHK Science and Technical Research Laboratories

ABU Engineering Industry Award: Bimal Kumar De, former Engineer-in-Chief of DDI.


ABU Technical Review Prizes - Best Article Winner: Mediacorp Radio Singapore

Title Article: Beyond Radio in DAB: Awakening the Giant Within

ABU is a non-profit, non-government, professional association of broadcasting organisations, formed in 1964 to facilitate the development of broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific region and to organise cooperative activities amongst its members. It currently has over 100 members in 52 countries, reaching a potential audience of about 3 billion people.

"Khabar" Agency, the leading national television and radio broadcaster in the Republic of Kazakhstan, will host the 41st annual ABU General Assembly in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2004.

Also Read:

Doordarshan re-elected to Asia-Pacific broadcast panel

Prasar Bharati CEO Sarma elected ABU vice-president

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