The China-Russia Media Forum is held in St. Petersburg, Russia, on June 25 (XINHUA)
The China-Russia Media Forum was convened in St. Petersburg, Russia on June 25, resulting in several major Chinese and Russian media organizations signing a number of cooperation agreements. The Chinese organizations included China News Agency, China Radio International (CRI) and China International Publishing Group. The agreements covered pacts to exchange press releases, conduct interviews together, and share the launch for certain publications and TV shows.
The forum has a solid background. Back in May, the China-Russia Summit held in Moscow saw the two governments sign a declaration to cooperate on the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Eurasian Economic Union. The Silk Road Economic Belt is a China-driven initiative aimed at strengthening economic cooperation and improving traffic connectivity in the Eurasian region, while the Eurasian Economic Union is an economic bloc among states located primarily in northern Eurasia including Russia, Belarus and Armenia. The summit also announced that 2016-2017 would be a Media Exchange Year Between China and Russia.
"Media cooperation is an important part of cooperation between countries," said Virgin Khodorkovsky, an associate professor at the Faculty of Journalism at Moscow State University. "The media forum is a bridge, acting as a channel for bilateral cooperation and providing reliable information. It is the main and practical purpose of the year of media exchanges."
Deepening media cooperation
In an era when the media is present everywhere, information dissemination and accessing information are undergoing tremendous change. This has strengthened the international expansion of emerging-market economies, including China and Russia, helping them to enhance their stories for the world. In recent years, political trust between China and Russia has strengthened, pragmatic cooperation in various fields has deepened and there have been deeper bilateral exchanges as well as cooperation in the media. These factors will boost the two countries' bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership.
"Sino-Russian relations have continuously achieved new heights in recent years; media organizations from both sides should do timely follow-ups to promote cooperation." said Lu Xinning, Deputy Editor in Chief of People's Daily. Lu also said that from the media perspective, Chinese and Russian media were at the forefront of the development of all media and could share their experiences. Media cooperation between China and Russia, in addition to creating a mechanism for international expansion at a strategic level, should be practical. The two sides should work together to create cultural products and provide well-rounded images of their countries to the world. "As long as the two sides pool their wisdom and passion together, we will be able to find more worthwhile topics to discuss and stories worth telling together," Lu said.
Remarkable achievements have been made in China-Russia media cooperation. On the sidelines of the forum, CRI and Russia Today (RT), Russia's international news agency, signed a supplement to the cooperation agreement between the two news organizations. As per the supplementary agreement, CRI and RT will deepen the exchange of information and programs, report events together, jointly organize media events and cooperate in the field of new media. The two sides will also establish and develop a Sino-Russian media space to promote information exchanges between themselves and the media of other countries.
"During the Media Exchange Year, CRI will take the initiative in elevating the media cooperation between the two countries. Topping our agenda will be a round-table meeting of the Media Council, a Silk Road-themed joint reporting project, and a new episode of our joint project Hello, China. We hope to demonstrate concrete results of the bilateral media cooperation through the multi-media platform," said Wang Gengnian, CRI Director General.
Growing in tandem
RT is a brand under Russian news agency RIA Novosti's TV company TV-Novosti. Founded on April 6, 2005, it is the Russian flagship for foreign-oriented publicity. It has 630 million viewers in more than 100 countries, accounting for 28 percent of cable TV subscribers worldwide. Since it was established, its programs have been broadcast by 30 satellite TV channels and 500 cable TV operators. In the UK, it has more than 2 million viewers; in the United States, it has 85 million viewers, making it the second highest viewed foreign news channel after BBC News. In 2012, according to Pew Research Center, RT had become the most popular news channel on YouTube ; in June 2013, it became the first TV station on YouTube with 1 billion viewers.
RT's Editor in Chief Margarita Simonyan said: "Russia is a major player. Her voice should always be heard. We hope all foreigners are able to get first-hand information rather than interpreted information. "
RT's success provides a good reference for Chinese media organizations, which are vigorously strengthening their capacity for international expansion.
In the past, China and Russia have held National Years, Years of Languages, Tourism Years, Youth Friendly Exchange Years and other people-to-people exchange events. The media of the two countries report each other's activities, complement each other in their reports, and have a tacit understanding. The two sides have also jointly organized a Chinese singing Russian songs contest, a Sino-Russian Friendship Tour and other activities, which have had a broad impact.
The television, radio and other media organizations of the two countries have co-produced special programs as well, including language learning and introduction to cultures. The newspapers and news agencies in both countries have held annual activities for each other's young reporters and publishers execute translation of each other's literary classics and other projects.
Forward with the times
In addition, 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the world's victory over fascism, the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, and the 70th anniversary of Russia's Great Patriotic War. The media of China and Russia have been working closely on these important events, reflecting their responsibility to defend the fruits of victory in World War II. Through joint media interviews, photo exhibitions and live video reports, they have been highlighting the importance of cooperation between the peoples of the two countries and the need to adhere to peace and avoid repeating the tragic history.
Liu Qibao, head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee, who led the Chinese delegation to the forum, called for closer cooperation between Chinese and Russian media to advance the two countries' relations.
"With China-Russia relations having made big strides forward, the media organizations of the two countries should foster mutual trust and deepen exchanges and cooperation," Liu said. "They should focus on major strategic blueprints, initiatives and projects; they should jointly boost the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership; and they should serve the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and Eurasian Economic Union together."