Fake news, misinformation, disinformation and threat to lives of journalists in their line of duty dominated discourse Sunday at the on-going 5th World Media Summit (WMS) which formally kicked off in Nansha District, Guangzhou of the Guangdong Province in the southern part of China.
The event had a gathering of over 450 participants from 101 countries cutting across regions, including representatives of 197 mainstream media outlets, think tanks, government agencies and diplomatic missions to China, and UN agencies and international organisations among others.
This year’s summit has as its theme: “Boosting Global Confidence, Promoting Media Development,” and would be discussing issues around bolstering media confidence, embracing the opportunities and challenges offered by new technologies, exploring new markets in the digital age, and striving for a shared future in global media cooperation.
The opening session had speakers like UN Under-Secretary General for Global Communications, Melisaa Fleming, who addressed the gathering virtually, Executive Deputy Head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee Hu Heping, Guangdong Province Governor Wang Weizhong, President of Xinhua News Agency Fu Hua, Reuters Managing Director Sue Brooks, and First Deputy Director General of TASS Agency Mikhail Gusman.
In her virtual remarks, Fleming lamented the fate of the independent media whose journalists, she said, had always come under unwarranted attacks.
She made a case for partnership among the world media, saying, “Such media-to-media cooperation is an integral part of people-to-people ties around the world. It is the glue that underpins how people of different nations can understand each other.”
Also, in his remarks, Mr. Heping of the CPC
Central Committee, stressed the need for the media “to promote greater consensus among the international community.”
He said: “The Summit has become a window to foster friendship between the people and their various cultures, facilitate mutual trust and exchange of ideas. The theme really reflects the global expectations from the media. Let us uphold fairness and justice. The world is entering a critical stage of instability. Media should convey authentic information to the world and avoid fake news. It is hoped that everyone will strive to save the credibility of the media, seek hope and inject confidence to move the world forward. This is the best way to promote communication at all levels.”
Addressing the gathering, the host governor, Mr. Weizhong, praised the southern part of China as the nation’s power house, saying it boasts of 1.68 million entrepreneurs.
A report sighted by Blueprint showed “the top 500 enterprises in Guangdong posted operation revenue of 17.01 trillion Yuan ($2.36 trillion) in 2022, with average enterprise operation revenue exceeding 34 billion Yuan.”
A statement was issued by participants at
the end of the opening session.
The statement read in part, “The summit attracted more than 450 representatives from nearly 200 institutions, including media outlets, think tanks and international organisations, from over 100 countries and regions.”
“With the theme of ‘Boosting Global Confidence, Promoting Media Development,’ the attendees conducted extensive and in-depth discussions on four topics, namely, ‘Bolstering Confidence: Media’s Role in Promoting Human Development and Security,’ ‘Embracing Changes: Media’s Response to New Technological Opportunities and Challenges,’ ‘Pioneering Innovation: Media’s New Markets in the Digital Age,’ and ‘Seeking Growth: Media’s Worldwide Cooperation for a Better Future,’ to explore ways for the media industry to address global challenges,” it further said.
“They expressed the hope that global media will pay more attention to the pressing demands of developing countries in areas such as poverty reduction, food security, financing for development, and industrialisation, and help resolve imbalances and inadequacies in development.
“We should disseminate factual, objective, comprehensive and unbiased news to our audience, resist misinformation, and oppose rumors and prejudices to uphold the authority and credibility of the media.”
The summit continues today with participants breaking into sub- forums to brainstorm on the issues raised by various speakers.