Taiwan’s reputation as a champion of press freedom and a hub of digital innovation, coupled with its excellent air connectivity and top-notch meetings infrastructure, made it an ideal choice for the 74th World News Media Congress held from 28 to 30 June 2023 in Taipei.
The congress, organised by the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), brought together approximately 1,000 leaders in print, broadcast, and digital journalism from 58 countries, marking Taiwan's debut as the host country. The three-day congress was held in Asia for the first time since Thailand hosted the 2013 edition.
Ensuring widespread geographical representation is a key objective for any global conference and the choice of Taiwan, with its varied regional and international flight connections was clearly a winning point for the congress. Furthermore, Taiwan’s welcoming immigration regulations means that visitors from 66 countries do not require a visa for short stays of 14 days.
Taipei’s Nangang Exhibition Center (TaiNEX) was a natural choice as the conference venue, with the event held in the newly opened Hall 2. Not only did delegates enjoyed seamless accessibility and the latest smart-event technology at TaiNEX, the centre is also acclaimed as one of Asia’s leading sustainable venues. In addition, the Grand Hyatt Taipei, located next to the world-famous landmark Taipei 101, was earmarked as the official conference hotel.
An event of deep influence
Taiwan's leading media and technology company, the United Daily News Group (UDN), played a crucial role as the main local partner for the congress, working together with WAN-IFRA to discuss mutual challenges, share experiences, and propose solutions in today’s fast-changing media landscape.
A prominent focus of the congress revolved around the potential risks and opportunities arising from the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and its adoption within media companies. With Taiwan's status as a high-tech leader in various fields, it offered an ideal setting for expert discussions on AI.
The World News Media Congress also provided Taiwan with an opportunity to showcase its diverse attractions to journalists, publishers, broadcasters, and influencers. In her welcome address, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen encouraged delegates to not only have a productive congress but also to connect with its warm and friendly people. “Please enjoy your time in Taiwan, and also take some time to experience our culture, scenery, and of course, delicious food,” she stated.
Diversity and inclusion
Tolerance and diversity are key motifs of Taiwanese society and its MICE industry. The media congress demonstrated this with a female participation of 40% of delegates with a wide array of women newsroom leaders and speakers such as Maria Ressa, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of Philippine media outlet Rappler.
Aside from the main plenary sessions, the World News Media Congress also held the World Media Leaders Summit, the World Editors Forum and the Women in News Summit.
To immerse delegates in Taiwan’s unique culture and traditions, the World News Media Congress showcased an enchanting choral performance by Nibun Chorus, an indigenous singing group from Kaohsiung, the gala dinner at Taipei Grand Hotel.
As with all major conferences and congresses, the event enjoyed the firm professional support of the MEET TAIWAN team, the island’s MICE promotion arm, which assisted with the congress’ date changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic and clashes with major exhibitions.
Taiwan’s hospitable ‘open-arms’ philosophy went beyond the conference programme, with a series of pre- and post-show tours for delegates. The event included a touching gesture of releasing sky lanterns inscribed with “world peace” and “press freedom” into the sky in Taipei’s district of Pingxi.
Taiwan’s successful hosting of the 74th World News Media Congress generated extensive positive press coverage for the island and its capacity to handle major media-related events. This can only add to the growing interest in the destination as a dependable and unique choice for conference and congress organisers.
In sum, the conference also demonstrated Taiwan’s open-arm approach to blend technology, media excellence, and sustainability, leaving a lasting impression on attendees from around the globe.
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