By Arun Ranjit
The fifth World Media Summit (WMS) began on December 03 in Guangzhou, China.
The fifth summit themed “Boosting Global Confidence, Promoting Media Development” will be hosted by Xinhua on Dec. 2-8, in China’s Guangzhou city of Guangdong Province and Kunming city of Yunnan Province attended by 450 officials and media persons from 101 countries and regions — representatives from nearly 200 mainstream media outlets, think tanks and government agencies, as well as international organizations — will participate in the event this year in the hope of reaching practical cooperation.
The notion of holding the summit was first proposed by Xinhua in 2008 with the aim of facilitating exchanges among leading media groups worldwide on the challenges posed by the emergence of the “New Media” and enhancing their win-win cooperation.
Co-initiated by a collection of media organizations with global influence — including Xinhua News Agency, the Associated Press, Reuters, TASS Russian News Agency, the first summit, organized by Xinhua, was held in Beijing in 2009 thinking an essential high-end platform for media exchange and coordination, where a group of globally renowned media organizations, including Xinhua News Agency, the Associated Press, Reuters, TASS, Kyodo News, and others attended.
The inaugural of WMS with participation of over 300 representatives from more than 170 media outlets across 70 countries and regions took place in Beijing from October 8 to 10, 2009. With Moscow hosting the second in 2012, followed by the third in Doha, Qatar, in 2016, and Beijing in 2021 for the fourth summit via video link, the World Media Summit has demonstrated its commitment to inclusivity and a diverse representation of global media perspectives. Currently, the presidium consists of 17 international media organizations, with Fu Hua, the President of Xinhua News Agency, serving as its Executive Chairman.
The summit will address topics including bolstering media confidence, coping with opportunities and challenges presented by new technologies, exploring new markets in the digital age, and striving for a shared future in global media cooperation. Global Media and Information Literacy Week, commemorated annually, is a major occasion for mobilizing worldwide stakeholders to raise awareness in order to increase national take-up and celebrate the progress achieved towards Media and Information Literacy for All – underlining the importance of this Global Week, celebrated since 2011. Global media cultures create a continuous cultural exchange, in which crucial aspects such as identity, nationality, religion, behavioural norms and way of life are continuously questioned and challenged.
Global media refers to forms of mass communication that reach across the world. Today that includes everything from traditional media, such as TV, radio, and newspapers, to social media like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.
Focusing on digital spaces in this year’s edition of Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2023 will give the opportunity to explore paths for strengthening multilateral cooperation with digital platforms and other stakeholders in integrating media and information literacy into policies, operations, and products. The global community is then solicited to develop new initiatives and reinforce existing ones to advance media and information literacy in digital spaces.
In the dynamic landscape of global media, the World Media Summit stands as a pivotal forum for fostering collaboration and addressing challenges, bringing together leaders and influencers from diverse corners of the world to engage in meaningful dialogue.
From top executives and editors-in-chief to seasoned journalists and media scholars, as well as press officials, the summit seeks to foster dialogue, share insights and collectively address the multifaceted challenges confronting contemporary media.
Since its inception, the summit has achieved remarkable progress in its effort to promote international people-to-people exchanges as well as exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations. A series of documents have been issued to strengthen media connections and promote cooperation, including the World Media Summit Joint Statement, the World Media Summit Convention on the Protection of Intellectual Property Related to Media Results, the World Media Summit Doha Statement, the Fourth World Media Summit Presidium Meeting Shanghai Consensus, and the joint statement of the 4th World Media Summit.
Multiple activities have been successfully held to enhance practical cooperation. For instance, the World Media Summit Global Awards for Excellence were organized in 2014 and 2021. Training programs for media professionals from Asia, Africa and Latin America were set up, and several large-scale international public welfare projects were initiated, like the Global News Day for Children with a global live broadcast around the clock, the Zoom-in on Poverty Global Photo Contest, as well as media campaigns focused on Africa.
Through establishing the presidium, the supreme decision-making body of the summit, and the Secretariat as part of the daily administrative structure, the summit has made significant strides in institutional building, which ensures the long-term stability and development of the summit. Referring to the 5thWMS, the Director-General of Qatar News Agency (QNA) Ahmed bin Saeed al-Rumaihi has stressed the need for the global media to show responsibility towards serving public interests by creating a positive, healthy and harmonious public opinion environment to further enhance global prosperity, stressing media’s vital role in conveying information and raising awareness.
In a statement, HE al-Rumaihi said that the media’s role in addressing global issues and ensuring the presence of an informed public is essential and multifaceted, including monitoring events, especially as the media follows up and covers global issues on an ongoing basis, which provides the public with the latest international developments and events, in addition to conveying information and news about global issues in an independent and objective manner that helps the public understand international situations as well as enriches the analysis by providing analysis and articles that bring a deeper understanding of global issues and provide multiple perspectives.
He said that media’s responsibilities and role include encouraging debate as media coverage contributes to stimulating discussions and dialogues about global issues and directing attention to important issues, in addition to raising awareness about issues such as climate change, human rights, public health, and many other humanitarian issues, and influencing decision-makers through the media’s ability to direct public pressure and influence towards policy makers to take action regarding global issues.
The world has become a small village and its countries are more dependent on each other and the importance of the media in it is increasing as the entity that constitutes the link in the current era with significant changes taking place. The media bears the responsibility to transmit live stories about the contemporary world accurately and objectively to all parts of the world that act as a bridge linking different cultures and peoples which makes greater contributions to the process of social development and progress for all of humanity, he added.
He stressed the important role played by the media in achieving economic growth, social development and international co-operation through several axes, namely the transfer of information, as the media contributes to conveying economic, social and political information to the public to increase awareness and enable individuals and institutions to make better decisions and enhance transparency.
The media’s role enhances international communication between different countries and cultures that encourages international co-operation and exchange of knowledge, and puts emphasis on global issues by drawing attention to global issues such as climate change and sustainable development to further enhance international co-operation to resolve these issues.
The summit will certainly be a refined platform for communication, information exchange and co-operation between all news agencies, as well as printed press and online media around the world. It creates an opportunity to exchange experiences gained and the progress achieved in the field of media in light of globalisation.
The summit pays attention to assessing development trends in the global media industry and focuses on a series of pivotal issues facing media organisations in light of global crises, the rapidly changing demands of audiences, and the rapid development of modern technologies. embrace new opportunities and address new challenges in the media sector.
The summit is hoped to discuss some of the most important current issues including media work, the protection of journalists, and the ever-changing needs of audiences around the world.
The in-depth exchange of views between participants will also play a positive role in expanding the common understanding between news media and journalists in countries with different systems and experiences.
Meanwhile, the Global Media and Information Literacy Week was also held in Nigeria from 24-31 October 2023. Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed expressed the commitment to pursuing, supporting, and promoting the right media and information policies and programmes that will enhance the development of the capacities of citizens, particularly the youth, to effectively acquire and apply media and information literacy competencies. He urged development partners, multilateral organizations and all countries to commit to supporting and funding this initiative, which will ultimately make our world a safer and more peaceful place to live.
As digital networks have become the preferred platforms for expression, protest and interaction, it is estimated that 60% of the world’s population, or 4.75 billion people, have expressed themselves, informed themselves and asked questions on digital social networks. Ultimately, media and information literacy are not just a technical or pedagogical issue; it has democratic implications that are fundamental to social cohesion. It is now up to the international community to provide a response that fully addresses these issues that concern us all.