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Media can help to keep good governance

By Zhan Yong (People's Daily)

16:50, September 01, 2011

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

Society has entered the Omni-media Era. Information channels can be found everywhere, tentacles of media can reach every place, and it has turned into a normal situation that authority operates under the spotlight. Regarding this, many cadres have clearly realized that the criticism is a kind of valuable support, and both the praise and blame show a kind of love.

Of course, there are also some people who are happy to hear compliments, are angry to hear blame, claim that critical reports affect stability, assert that media supervision hurt the cause, gripe that media can do nothing but make trouble, and blame the media for mistakes for their own mistakes.

It should be admitted that a few media agencies, misguided by the click volume, audience rating and circulation, are interested in making fake news, which misleads people and could cause bad social effects. Ignoring the responsibility of media, such agencies really hurt the social confidence. However, we should not deny the positive effects, criticism and supervisory functions of the media because of a few bad apples. A lot of cases have proved that the normal supervision of the media is a promoter for the governmental work.

First, there are facts and problems, and then there is news. This is a scientific perspective for studying the role of media. Karl Marx wrote, "A free press is the omnipresent open eye of the spirit of the people." It is the media's social responsibility to provide accurate and complete coverage of issues of public interest. Furthermore, President Hu Jintao has called on the media to "publicize the Party's policy, foster moral behaviors, convey public sentiments, guide public opinion, ease public concerns and supervise government agencies and officials."

The revelation of the "South China tiger photos" scandal, involuntary psychiatric treatment and corrupt charities in recent years has redeemed some credibility of government bodies, promoted mental health legislation and forced charities to increase transparency. This has shown the power of the media and public opinion and has proven that media supervision and active responses from government agencies can promote good governance.

Certain leading cadres said that critical reporting is also positive news, which can often turn something bad into something good. On one hand, media coverage of sensitive issues and revelation of scandals may cause related organizations to lose face, but they can arouse public attention and turn bad things into good things by pressing the government to solve previously hidden problems. On the other hand, problems exposed will remain unsolved if government agencies ignore critical media reports and fail to take action.

The more social responsibility the media assumes, the better it should use its right to speak. When an event takes place, the media first needs to analyze problems in an objective and fair manner while properly guiding public opinion instead of making emotional moves. It should best offer constructive opinions and ideas about how to overcome difficulties as well as provide the masses with confidence and hopes rather than discreetly doubting everything. Rational thinking is a major pillar of the media when dealing with complicated events, enabling it to nurture public rationality and advance social progress.

Rulers should be aware that the media is neither the start nor the end of an event but rather an "inflection point." Wise and responsible rulers can not only proactively adapt to the supervision environment created by the all media but also view the readiness to accept the supervision as the quality of political conduct. The sound governance can be achieved by properly treating, using and regulating the media that acts as a major resource and means of running the country. The government of Menglian in Yunnan province has removed the broad gap between cadres and the masses and created the "Menglian experience" for mass work. The government of Chenzhou in Hunan province has reformed the structure of interests relating to housing demolition and relocation and turned forced housing relocation into harmonious one, which have all showed the aforementioned changes.

A microblog post, a micro video clip and a popular phase are all micro power that can become butterfly wings leading to a storm. Will the storm be criticisms against "plain mistakes" or applause for "those who have corrected their mistakes?" Winning positive opinions should start by properly dealing with "negative opinions."

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