Global media facing 'trust crisis' - experts

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Global media groups attending a summit in the capital have called for more objective, reliable and accurate information for the public, as they warned of a "trust crisis".

With the theme "Creativity, Credibility, Rights and Responsibilities", the annual Asia Media Summit, which opened in Beijing on Tuesday, is focused on public trust, media ethics, universal content access, community broadcasting, media and migration, and copyright.

The two-day event has attracted leading television media such as Japan's NHK, Australian Broadcasting Cooperation (ABC) and Korean Broadcasting System.

Liu Yunshan, head of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said at the opening ceremony the theme of the summit reflects the thoughts and concerns of the media world and the expectations of the international community from the media.

The Chinese media has always followed a policy of being true to facts, to life, and to the people, besides promoting innovation in news and communication concepts, content, formats and techniques, he said.

Liu said he hoped the media worldwide, especially the Asia-Pacific region, will strengthen cooperation in news communication, information technology and business operations, and share resources on the basis of "equality, mutual benefit and mutual success".

"The global media is facing a trust crisis. And, in this regard, there is no big difference between developed countries and developing countries," Maurice Newman, chairman of ABC, said at the summit.

Participants at the summit believe that stereotypes, cultural biases, lack of objectivity and inaccuracies are but a few criticisms harped against the media.

They also said the public has complained against excessive commercialism and government control.

"We are facing a battle against fake news, paid news, and soft advertising in news," said Hu Zhengrong, vice-president of Communication University of China. "It is also about reports that are unconcerned about social affairs and public interests," he said.

The decreasing public trust is a result of "media commercialization without efficient regulation" and "media operations influenced by special interest groups", he said.

"The possibilities of accessing diverse information channels and people's increasing levels of media literacy are also important factors," he said.

He noted that the Chinese people still trust their media today, and traditional media are more reliable as sources of information than the Internet.

According to his research, the channels for credible news in China are ranked as TV, newspaper, radio, news magazine and the Internet.

"Japan does not have similar statistics. The trust in traditional Japanese media is decreasing," said Hidetoshi Fujisawa, chief commentator and program host for NHK Japan Broadcasting Corporation.

"The online news bites up the newspaper and TV market," he said, adding that people are more concerned about domestic news since the end of the Cold War.

Initiated and sponsored by the Kuala Lumpur-based Asia-Pacific Institute For Broadcasting Development (AIBD) in 2004, the Asia Media Summit is hosting more than 800 delegates this year, including decision makers, media professionals, scholars, and stakeholders of news and programming from the Asia-Pacific region, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

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