This year's ASEAN Media Forum (AMF), now in its seventh edition, highlighted the crucial role of media in the process of ASEAN regional integration. The event took place against the backdrop of Indonesia's ASEAN Chairmanship in 2023, with the theme "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth." The forum was organized by the ASEAN Secretariat, with support from the German Federal Government through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Over 40 leaders from various ASEAN media outlets attended the event.
The primary objective of the forum was to transform AMF into a reputable regional platform, focusing on showcasing ASEAN's challenges, potentials, and the issues that impact the community-building efforts in the region.
The forum commenced with a special session featuring the representative of ASEAN Chair 2023, Indonesia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Retno LP Marsudi. During this session, Minister Marsudi addressed various critical issues related to ASEAN, including ongoing efforts regarding Myanmar, ASEAN's role in the Indo-Pacific, regional economic and security development, and intra and external relations. She emphasized the importance of the ASEAN Media Forum as a means for leaders to engage with the media and for the media to gain insights into the decision-making processes behind the scenes.
In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, underscored the significant role of media in raising awareness, promoting understanding, and dispelling misperceptions about ASEAN's integration agenda, both within the region and beyond. He emphasized that a well-informed and engaged public is an asset as ASEAN continues to work towards greater cohesion and integration.
Ambassador of Germany to ASEAN, Ina Lepel, also delivered a welcoming statement in which she acknowledged the valuable role of AMF in facilitating an exchange of views between ASEAN and the public. She recognized that AMF had evolved into the most critical stage for conveying the ASEAN story to regional media outlets.
The media participated in two dynamic sessions featuring expert panelists. The first session focused on the ASEAN-Myanmar landscape in 2025 and included notable figures such as former Secretary-General of ASEAN, Tan Sri Ajit Singh, Former Advisor to the National Security Council of Thailand, Dr. Panitan Wattanayagorn, and Deputy Director of Asia Research Institute, Maitrii Aung-Thwin. The second session explored Timor-Leste's path to ASEAN membership and featured former Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN, Sayakane Sisouvong, Director of Timor-Leste's Water Public Utility Company, Joao da Cruz Cardoso, and research professor at the Research Center for Politics-National Research and Innovation Agency, Professor Dr. Dewi Fortuna Anwar.
Furthermore, media leaders engaged in a discussion with a senior diplomat and author of "Does ASEAN Matter? A View from Within," by Dr. Marty Natalegawa, on ASEAN's relevance in the global power complex. The conversation revolved around ASEAN's ongoing efforts and best practices in maintaining and enhancing ASEAN's centrality amid external challenges.