Mon, Oct 20, 2003 - Page 4 News List

International media scrum finds it's well catered to at summit


Hordes of journalists from all over the world have been drawn to Bangkok by the APEC summit, which will run till next Tuesday.

Thailand, the host country of this year's summit, seems to have gone to great lengths to make sure that the more than 4,000 journalists covering the events in Bangkok have access to an optimal working environment.

For a start, shuttle bus services for the media are provided by the summit's organizers, which include the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) and Thai Airways Narong Aksornnit, a BMTA officer, said.

According to Aksornnit, a total of 23 shuttle buses are in service from 5am to midnight every day while the summit lasts. Shuttle buses run every 20 minutes in a bid to allow the most convenient travel for news crews that need to cover APEC events outside the Queen Sirikit National Conventional Center, where the media center is located.

According to an APEC spokesman, Thailand started preparations for this year's summit in 1999, when the offer to host the Leaders' Meeting was accepted.

At the center, numerous useful information booths are provided for the media. They include a media working area, media pool desk, call center, photo center, broadcast center, medical unit and conference rooms.

Popular among journalists and other participants is the press center's photo center, which provides digital photo processing and printing services, is quite popular among journalists, as well as other participants. The services include making color prints and scanning images, as well as download services for pictures of APEC events.

The media working center is a facility loaded with various internet services. According to the APEC spokesman, approximately 250 computers -- all connected to a wide-band service -- are installed at the working center. The computers were provided by Hewlett-Packard.

In addition, 100 more lines with wide-band service are provided for journalists who prefer to work on their own laptops.

Communication resources also 20 fax-capable printers, several web-phones, public phones and wide-screen TVs displaying events taking place at the summit.

A food court has also been installed by the APEC organizers. In addition to beers, desserts and sushi, a selection of Thai cuisine such as rice noodles, curried rice, tom yam soup and fried spring rolls are offered at the food court. It stays open until 10pm to accommodate the schedule of journalists, which more often than not is characterized by randomness.

Journalists covering the meeting can also enjoy a free 30-minute Thai foot massage at the media center.

"It really works," according to a reporter from Japan who took a break to enjoy the service. "My knees feel more relaxed now."

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