¡®Individual Ability of Koreans Enhances the Image of Korea¡
Enayetullah Khan, Editor-in-Chief and President of the United News of Bangladesh (UNB), visited Korea to discuss cooperation in the media sector. Although this is his fourth visit to Korea, he last visited in 1985, so he expressed his amazement with Korea¡¯s remarkable development during this period.
Since you last visited here 15 years ago, today¡¯s Korea must look quite different.
The last time I visited was 15 years ago, so I feel like this is my first visit. The Korea I see now is completely different from what I saw in 1985. Of course, it has changed in a very good way. In Bangladesh, I have often heard about the remarkable economic development of Korea. I am, however, far more impressed by the fact that Korea has made such wonderful achievements in culture as well. Personally, I am a collector of art works, and I was surprised at the cultural attainment of Korea, which can be seen at any street corner or building. I could feel great energy here. I was able to feel the power of Korean culture when I talked with painter Park Seo-bo during my stay.
What was the result of your meetings with Korean journalists?
As a producer of news content, I had an in-depth discussion with the president of the Korea Times about issues of mutual concern related to the future of print media in a continuously changing media environment. We exchanged opinions on how the media can satisfy the demands of existing newspaper readers, especially the younger generation who is unfamiliar with print newspaper, due to an abundance of free news content on the Internet. When I visited the Yonhap News Agency, with which my company now cooperates closely, I discussed the exchange of news as well as related areas. I look forward to having a wider range of exchange of news materials and images in various fields, including the economy and culture.
As the only private news agency in Bangladesh, UNB must have a greater sense of responsibility in regard to its role.
As one of the founders, I have a special attachment to UNB of which I am very proud. Since its establishment in 1988, UNB has thus far produced quality news reports through its partnership with AP, the world¡¯s largest news agency, and has become the representative Bangladeshi news agency while continuously enhancing its international awareness. We are also highly spoken of for even carrying articles that are critical of the government, without hesitation, as a private news agency. We are also faithful in covering local news. As I said earlier, we are adopting various changes and reform, in consideration of online competition and mobile subscribers at a time when news agencies face a crossroads of changes due to the Internet¡¯s development. In that sense, my visit to Korea will turn out to be helpful since Korea has much experience with web and mobile users and advanced business models.
What are the major differences between the media environment of Korea and Bangladesh?
It is clearly an international trend that online web-based information threatens the survival of print media. There is, however, a clear difference in its extent and direction, by country. For instance, the number of subscribers to print media in Korea and Japan is larger than that of other countries. I think print media will be able to survive for quite a long time due to such cultural differences. I hope such an environment will be created in Bangladesh as well. Of course, we would like to learn from Korea¡¯s advanced know-how to improve our competitiveness in web-based news content.
As an independent media business, what difficulties must you overcome, aside from financial concerns?
The UNB has strived to come up with its own survival model from the outset. As a result, we have been successful in securing steady demand for our news content, thereby making stable operation possible thus far in terms of revenue and earnings. The most important matter is whether the buyers of our content are sufficiently satisfied. Accordingly, we make efforts to satisfy readers in various aspects, from useful information to tips on everyday life, like English conversation. I think of information as a service. I believe the future of UNB will be bright as long as we steadily provide content that is timely, fast, and accurate.
To what extent, does news from Korea attract the interest of the Bangladeshi people?
News consumers pay attention to particular news when they are curious about the subject. In this respect, news from Korea has various elements to attract the attention of the people of Bangladesh, who are very much interested in news related to economic development. They also pay close attention to news about the politics and diplomacy between Korea and China, and Korea and Japan, because the stability and growth of the East Asian region has a positive impact on Bangladesh. It is a natural phenomenon for Bangladesh, which strives to further develop its own economy, to keep pace with the growth of Asia overall. An increasing number of readers that I have talked with want vivid news accounts from a Korean perspective. How to satisfy this demand is also on my agenda.
Finally, what role can the Korea Foundation play to enhance the image of Korea in Bangladesh?
I think the Korea Foundation has already been playing a wonderful role. I can see its efforts to increase exchange between Korea and other countries on a continual and active basis, related to a wide range of areas. Although the role of such an organization is important to enhance the image of a country, I personally think what is more important is the ability of individuals. In this regard, the Korean people have already been successful in improving their image. I am confident you will reap greater results when such a base is broadened by the efforts of the Korea Foundation to introduce the true Korea and to communicate closely with the global community.