More resources and efforts are needed to better distribute video films and TV programmes on environment and development issues in Asia.
Such material, made available in Asian languages on TV channels, schools, civil society networks and the web, can play a vital role supporting Asia’s quest for sustainable development.
As communications technologies proliferate and their outreach capability increases, the need for locally relevant content in local languages has now become the main limiting factor, participants at a regional workshop noted last week.
The workshop, named ‘Moving Images for Saving the Planet: Networking for audio-visual communication in Asia’ was held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on 2 – 3 September 2010. It was organised by TVE Asia Pacific (TVEAP) and TVE Japan, in partnership with the Thai Worldview Foundation (TWF) and with funding support from the Toyota Foundation.
The event brought together 21 participants and resource persons (TV producers, journalists, film makers and educators) from 10 countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia. International participants were joined by several Thailand-based TV journalists, film makers and social activists.
The workshop’s basic premise was that education and communication play a major role in ensuring informed decisions and enlightened choices are made on sustainable development. Such discernment was critically needed to meet the multiple environmental challenges of our times -- such as tackling climate change, conserving biodiversity, keeping our air and water clean, managing our waste, and generating clean energy.
Participants agreed that film, television and video -- with their massive outreach and popular appeal -- offer much potential to engage people from all walks of life in discussing and debating development issues, and eventually making the right decisions and choices.
A key objective of the workshop was to share experiences in distributing two recent Japanese documentaries that was versioned into several Asian languages and distributed in eight countries during 2009-2010 (see box for details).
“As developing countries in Asia advance economically, it is important for them not to make the same environmental mistakes that Japan made during its rapid economic growth,” said Shukichi Koizumi, Chairman of TVE Japan, in his opening remarks.
“This is why TVE Japan produced a 7-part documentary series looking at Japan’s lessons in economy and the environment. They are meant to be cautionary tales for our Asian neighbours – so they don’t make the same mistakes that Japan made!”
Shiki Nishida, Programme officer of the Toyota Foundation, said this versioning and distribution project appealed to her grant-making organisation because it demonstrated the power, possibilities and effectiveness of networking across cultures and countries. The Foundation was interested in problem-solving projects which used networks to bring communities together.
TVE Japan and TVE Asia Pacific share a strong belief in the power of moving images to move people towards better development choices and practices, said Nalaka Gunawardene, Director and CEO of TVEAP.
He added: “Our two organisations, founded a few months apart in the mid 1990s, have been producing and distributing films on environment and development for 15 years. These have been eventful years in the Asia Pacific, and we remain committed to telling this Big Story to fellow Asians and the rest of the world.”
The workshop focused on the strategic use of moving images for awareness raising, advocacy, non-formal education and training in developing countries of the Asia Pacific. It discussed different audio-visual formats, options, choices and alternatives available to communicators, and explored new opportunities for using web-based video sharing platforms and technologies.
Content was organised around three sessions, as follows:
Session 1: Looking back: Sharing learnings from film distribution and outreach
Session 2: Networking for audio-visual advocacy on environmental issues in Asia
Session 3: Audio-visual advocacy: New media opportunities and challenges
The workshop adopted an interactive and informal approach, using a mix of presentations, film screenings, discussions and a field visit. The full workshop report will be compiled shortly and published on TVEAP website.
TVE Japan is a strategic content partner of TVEAP. The two non-profit entities have been collaborating for 15 years, promoting the production and distribution of environmental films and TV content across developing Asia.
Sharing Japan’s Eco Lessons with Asia…
Beginning in 1995, TVE Japan has been producing and distributing environmental films to developing countries in Asia. These have shared the Japanese experience in managing the environment and natural resources, and covered topics such as air pollution, automobiles, ozone, freshwater, pesticides and waste.
In 2009 – 2010, with funding from the Toyota Foundation., TVE Japan supported partners in 8 developing Asian countries to version and distribute latest films in this series:
||Japan’s Pollution Experience VI: Bringing Water back to Life
||Japan’s Pollution Experience VII: Island of Waste
These films were versioned into one key local language in Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Limited funding was also provided to partners to copy and distribute the versions to broadcast, civil society and educational users. After several months of distribution and promotion, these partners share their outreach experiences at the Chiang Mai workshop.
The English versions of these and other films in this series are available from TVEAP’s e-shop.
Photos from TVEAP Image Archive