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Chinese, Arab media vow bigger voice
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11:06, April 24, 2008

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Chinese and Arab media yesterday vowed to enhance press cooperation to challenge their Western counterparts to present more correct and objective reports about each other.

The pledge was made during a media cooperation forum, co-hosted by the State Council Information Office and the Secretariat of the League of Arab States (LAS).

More than 70 government press officials, chiefs of mainstream media and diplomats from all 22 LAS member nations attended the forum in Beijing yesterday.

Addressing the forum, Qian Xiaoqian, vice-minister of the State Council Information Office, said the world's information channels were like a slope on which information flows downward from developed countries to developing countries.

He said selectivity and double standards are very common phenomenons for Western media when covering events in developing countries, citing the example of Western reports on the recent riots in Tibet.

"We need to enhance media cooperation and exchange to break the dominance of the Western media so as to protect the common interests of developing countries," Qian said.

Mhd Kheir Al-Wadi, Syrian ambassador to China, noted that the direct exchange of news was very important for China and the Arab world to know what happens in each other's region.

At present, the two sides learn news about each other largely through a third party, whose reports are often not correct or objective, Al-Wadi said.

Adel Nour Eldin, deputy head of televised news of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union, said a lot of developing countries learn about the world through Western media.

"We understand they are biased, they twist the truth and exaggerate the little things but we have no other access to know the world. So it is very urgent and important for us to have a direct news exchange mechanism with China," he said.

Mohamed Alrumaihi, program controller of Radio Bahrain, said that, as of yesterday, the reports he had seen about the recent Tibetan unrest were all from the Western side.

"I saw it (the reports) from CNN, BBC, but I did not see it from the Chinese side, unfortunately," said Alrumaihi. "Every story has two sides - like coins have two faces. I'm a journalist; I must listen to two sides to balance the story."

The problem is Bahrainian media currently do not have access to the Chinese media. "That's why until now I haven't made my mind about the story", he added.

An Egyptian representative, Mohamed Swidan, head of ground segment of a satellite company, questioned some Western media's credibility because he found they were anything but fair when covering events in the Middle East.

"For example, on the Darfur issue and also the Palestinian and Iraqi problems, which are all hot issues in our region, their (some Western media's) understanding is not very complete."

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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