Officially the gathering in Beijing this weekend is to get the bosses of major media groups together to talk about the challenges facing media outlets.
The summit will be an effective platform for the heads of wire services, radio and television broadcasters, newspapers and magazines, and online media organizations from all parts of the world to communicate and pool ideas. The participants will gather and say what they will to brainstorm on media survival, development and cooperation, and envisage the future.
Notice the idea of media independent of government control is not mentioned. In his opening address Chinese president Hu Jiantao said:
“The media should use their distinctive assets and advantages to convey the messages of peace, development, cooperation, mutual benefit and tolerance.”
Showing he doesn’t get the idea of what freedom of press is all about. To him the media are to convey messages sent out by government leaders.
He added that media groups should treat each other as equals. Well it is kind of hard, I would think, for a reporter from The Times of London or The New York Times to treat a writer from Xinhua or People’s Daily as an equal. The former work hard to dig up information the government doesn’t want publicized because the public has a right to know. The latter repeat what ever information the government decides the public should know and don’t go further.
I am all for talks and discussions. Let us not forget, however, the differences and let us not be afraid to call out those differences when necessary.
Click here for more on the World Media Summit.