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News Analysis: Time for stronger China's voice to be heard

Xinhua 2016-02-24 16:15

  BEIJING, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- If China is to take its rightful place on the global stage, then its voice must be louder and more clear, media observers agreed on Tuesday.

  Newsrooms across the country have been abuzz since Friday's speech by President Xi Jinping on news reporting and public opinion in which he said that media work by Communist Party of China (CPC) should connect with the outside world and help the nation's message be heard overseas.

  The task is pressing, as the gap between the real China and how the country is perceived by the world is huge.

  TOO MUCH NEGATIVITY 

  "We are living in a time when misunderstandings about China show no sign of abating," said Sameh El-Shahat, president of China-i, a Beijing brand strategist. "China is the subject of too much negativity," he said.

  Foreign media's China coverage is on a spectrum somewhere between negative and doom and gloom, he said in an interview with Xinhua. "Sadly, we find a lot of judgment, rather than dialogue."

  Foreign media, he suggests, not only ignore the improvements in China's human rights record, but forget where and when China started on its path. China has taken more than 300 million people out of poverty in 30 years, a feat unprecedented in human history, and it is fair to say that the West neither understands nor credits China's human rights development, he said.

  "China needs to bridge that gap. That's why President Xi's comments about media are so timely," he said.

  The People's Daily confronted this hard truth in a commentary, stating there is a "deficit" between the inflow and outflow of information.

  More should be done to improve international communication. In short, China stories should feature better reasoning, in addition to being good stories, the commentary proposed.

  On the other hand, the world is increasingly interested in listening to China's voice and learning.

  China has never been so close to the center of global stage and it is the time for the nation to speak out, saying what it wants to share clearly and cogently.

  NEW METHODS 

  President Xi is right: Chinese media should own "The China Story" by telling true stories and reporting accurately. This is badly needed, said El-Shahat.

  This view is supported by Chen Xinling, dean of School of Journalism and Communication of Nanchang University. He wants to see a "new discourse system" with a more lively and effective style, consistent with international norms.

  Xia Yongmin, director of China Radio International's West Asian and African service, said that news for foreign audiences should feature issues of common concern and be published in local languages.

  In his speech, Xi said media groups should make use of the nuances of digital media to tell their stories and establish a strong global profile.

  With news available across multiple platforms tailored to different demographics, his remarks are a shift in the way China stories would be disseminated. Chinese news providers must use the right medium at the right time to make content more accessible, he said.

  "He recommends Chinese media reach out to ordinary people overseas, and I totally agree with his ideas," El-Shahat said.

  Zhang Jinsheng, deputy head of Jinan University's journalism and communication school, said Chinese news outlets should use whatever international influence they may have to establish a respected voice on important issues.

  News providers should actively participate in global dialog to make Chinese political discourse more influential, Zhang said. "Only through dialogue can we make ourselves heard by mainstream society and by ordinary people abroad."

[Editor:zhengxiao]