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Asian media challenge dominating Western rivals
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16:11, April 02, 2008

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· The Second 10+3 Media Cooperation Forum
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BOAO, Hainan -- Asian media vowed on Sunday to challenge their western rivals which dominate the world media market.
"The world is not flat actually," Liu Jiang, deputy editor-in-chief of Xinhua News Agency, said at the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), which was held over the weekend in the south China town of Boao.

"The world is in reality a slop on which information flows downward from developed countries to developing countries and regions," Liu said.

"The World Is Flat" by the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has been frequently quoted to prove an alleged "magic power" of globalization by Bill Gates and other lecturers at the conference.

The book figures out ten driving forces to grind the world flat, in each of which media play an important role.

"Developed contrives, which have one seventh of the world population, have dominated two thirds of the total information flow," Liu said. "However, globalization does not balance a horizontal world when it is grinding the world."

"Why do Asian media always yield to Western culture?" Felix Soh, deputy editor-in-chief of The Straits Times headquartered in Singapore, questioned in his speech at the sub-forum discussing globalization and the media. Such a topic was raised at the BFA for the first time.

News agencies in Asia have been struggling to challenge Western rivals in reporting regional events with objective, fair and comprehensive coverage.

"Asian media, especially those in developing countries, should seek active participation in world events and cooperate more on the coverage of regional news," Liu Jiang said.

By exchanging news, joining hands in editing and sharing beats of report, Asian media have broken the monopoly in reporting prominent regional events.

Liu particularly called for more joint research on technologies to improve news outlets on the Internet and via mobile phones.

Developing countries including those in Asia have called for establishing a new order of spreading information since the 1960s when they were fighting against an unfair information control by the Western developed countries.

The imbalance and differences of information flow between the developing and developed areas have not been narrowed by disputes for decades and most of the criticism against Western media were focused on bias and misinterpretation on developing countries, according to scholars.

"The image of Asia depends on how the world media describe it in a globalized era," said Li Xiguang, a scholar on communications of Tsinghua University.

Zhu Yinghuang, honorary editor-in-chief of China Daily, suggested Asian media cooperate by reallocating their resources to make the whole Asian media more powerful.

Asian media need their own view angle and there truly is the possibility for Asian countries with diverse political systems and cultures to cooperate, said Ravindra Kumar, editor and managing director of the Statesman from India.

High level forums and meetings have been raised by media groups from China and members of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). An agreement of cooperation on communication signed by members of the Non-aligned Movement at Kuala Lumpur in 2005 has shown the developing countries' strong willing to speak louder in the world.

Delegates of Asian media attending the BFA conference reached the consensus that Asian media should shoulder a responsibility for broadcasting "a harmonious Asia" with "a harmonious Asian image" and provide a value of "harmonious region" to tell the world a real Asia.


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