After Mr. Dorji delivered his message, the program proceeded to the “Plenary Session 2: UNESCO Emeritus Dialogue – Asian Philosophies, Religions and Communication” moderated by Dr. Binod Agrawal, a Board Member of AMIC Directors. The speakers for this plenary were Fr. Franz-Josef Eilers, SVD, Dr. Imtiyaz Yusuf, Dr. Su-Kyung Han, and Ms. Lorna Israel.
Fr. Franz-Josef Eilers presented his study “Religion in Asian Communication Studies” and focused only on what he deemed are the most important points of his work. According to him, religious ways and practices aren’t necessarily changed despite modernization and this is why the Asian approach to religion and communication is quite different. He talked of how communication in Asia is highly influenced by our diverse religions and emphasized that this religious culture is deeply connected in how we communicate with each other.
He was followed by Dr. Imtiyaz Yusuf, a prominent media professional who exhibited his work titled “How Asian Philosophies and Religion Influence Communication Paradigms”. His study revolved around the notions of religion being strengthened by communication, and religion, as a significant part of Asian culture, influencing how Asians interact with each other. In fact, he used some cases of disputes caused by religious differences to support his statement “There will be no peace among nations if there is no peace among religions”.
Next to Dr. Yusuf was Dr. Su-Kyung Han who collaborated with Dr. Binod Agrawal on her study named “Transnational Intercultural Communication between India and Korea Spreading Buddhism: An Ethno-Cultural and Linguistic Processes Analysis”. The two media professionals focused on communication and social relations, brought by the spread of Buddhism, between India and Korea. Dr. Su-Kyung Han mentioned that they also traced back into historical data and found that oral tradition was the key element to the spread of Buddhism from India to Korea.
Last to exhibit her work was Ms. Lorna Israel, a professor in Miriam College who presented her study on “Silence in Asian Philosophy and Religion”. She touched on key concepts from the Book of Silence and related some aspects of her work to concepts of the Dromology and the Spiral of Silence. Ms. Israel amusingly ended her segment by having everyone to be silent as they read her last slides. All of the speakers briefly talked of their studies and later answered some questions from the audience.
The plenary session was followed by a Google Talk headed by guest speaker Ms. Via Gail Tan, Head of Communications and Public Affairs of Google Philippines and Thailand. A video was played in the beginning then Ms. Tan focused on how Google aims for better communication in Asia. Graphs flashed on screen showed that Asians were the most active users of the internet and other data were explained to support these astonishing findings. Two more videos about Google’s new features were played again and a demonstration for Google Duo was executed with the help of selected participants from the audience. Ms. Tan maintained her liveliness in the auditorium all throughout the talk and ended it with a very relevant statement “We no longer go online. We live online.”
After the parallel sessions, The speakers of the third and last plenary for the entire conference, “Freedom of Expression in a Post-Truth Era”, presented their abstracts in the Marian Auditorium; while each scholar has their focus on their own locale, they have stemmed into one common denominator—fake news.
While variants of the word “fake news” have been used by each presenter (e.g. alternative facts, incidents, misinformation), it all narrows down to the machinery that has been known in social media given the wide audience. According to one of the speakers, Lars H. Bestle, he states that with so many elements composing fake news—namely lack of access, misinformation, information wars, hate speeches, and online smear campaigns—it can hardly be called journalism. The essence of this plenary emits the importance of factual information that the public deserves to know, it is a matter of gaining public trust as one said, and it is a right that every citizen of every country deserves to exercise.
To conclude the event, AMIC’s Secretary General, Ramon R. Tuazon gave his closing remarks wherein he voiced out his thoughts on the preparation that everyone under the organizing team and board of directors of AMIC went through to make the conference possible.