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Media urged to tone down nationalism

By Yang Jingjie (Global Times)

08:46, September 05, 2012

Media professionals from China, Japan, South Korea and 10 Southeast Asian countries Tuesday called on media organizations to act in a rational manner and avoid stirring up nationalism over intensified territorial disputes in the region at the Fifth 10+3 Media Cooperation Forum held in Changchun, Northeast China's Jilin Province.

Wu Hengquan, Editor-in-Chief of the People's Daily, told participants that the forum is on its way to becoming the most influential communications platform for media experts in Asia.

Wu said Asia's voice is not big enough to change the status quo and that several countries monopolize international communications.

According to the State Council Information Office, more than 80 percent of world news carried on Asian media outlets originates from major news agencies in the West.

To change what he called an unfair and imbalanced information flow, Wu urged Asian media to expand cooperation, establish a new international order and state Asia's stance in an internationally accepted manner.

Wu also asked media organizations to cover disputes in the region rationally, adding that media reports should help reduce miscalculations and promote common understanding, and properly reflect recent tensions in the East China Sea, where Tokyo is in a row with Seoul over the disputed islands known as Dokdo and Japan is in a tussle with China over the Diaoyu Islands.

Wu's sentiments were echoed by participants at the forum.

Wakamiya Yoshibumi, editor-in-chief of Japan's Asahi Shimbun paper, asked media organizations to refrain from excessive emotional coverage.

Yoshibumi also warned of ultra-nationalism being incited on social media platforms, noting that "such public opinions are a common challenge for all countries."

Jung Suk-koo, chief editorial writer of the Hankyoreh Daily of South Korea, expressed concerns that the recent territorial disputes in the region would affect regional economic cooperation, which is dealing with a chilled global economy.

Peter Ong, assistant editor of Singapore's Lianhe Zaobao, also said that the disputes in the South China Sea and the recent rows between Japan, South Korea and China could drag down the process of economic integration in East Asia, which he believes is critical for the global economic recovery.

Unlike previous rows, the tit-for-tat reactions in recent disputes have created troubles for regional stability, noted Ong, adding that strong nationalist emotions caused by the disputes have hampered diplomatic negotiations.

"If Asian countries are hostile to each other, there is no way for us to raise our voice in the world," said Yoshibumi.

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