By Ben Rosario
HAINAN, China – Media leaders representing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) + 3 countries on Monday expressed optimism that stronger collaboration and maintenance of high standards of objectivity will protect the high level of economic and regional cooperation of the participating nations against “fake news” and other communications challenges.
At the 9th 10 + 3 Media Cooperation Forum, sponsored by China’s People’s Daily, some 80 senior journalists and media executives from 13 countries in Asia tackled current communications adversities that could threaten the high level of cooperation the nations have already achieved.
Noting that East Asia hosts the countries with “most vibrant and robust economies” that currently spread to its neighbors, People’s Daily deputy editor in-chief Fang Jiangshan said media can help guarantee the “harmonious voice” that the 13 countries currently maintain.
“Peace and cooperation and interconnectivity are important. We should stick to this win-win formula of cooperation because it is a necessary choice for all the 13 countries,” said Fang at the opening of the forum held at picturesque Boao.
“We bear special responsibility to tell our story,” Fang stressed.
He urged journalists and media leaders to continue providing “a harmonious voice” for the 13 countries; help create favorable public opinion without giving up truth and report more on “people-to-people” cooperation.
Battling “fake news” blamed on the advancing mass communications technology has been pinpointed as the greatest challenge that may disrupt unity among nations.
“There’s always a risk of misunderstanding to be guarded against,” said Kenji Hattori, president of Jiji Research Institute of Japan.
Because of fake news, Hattori said, people have started to have doubts on the credibility of newspapers and other news sources.
“This is a very important challenge. It is our responsibility to build mutual understanding and face this mounting responsibility while trying to be objective,” said Hattori.
“In this age of fake news, it is important we continue a high degree of credibility, maintain a high standard of objectivity. It is only through these that media can play a constructive role of building a common ground to bridge understanding,” stated Singapore Press Holdings Ltd CEO Ng Yat Chung.
Lee Jong-heon, secretary general of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat, noted that global economy faces new challenges that included the rise in protectionism, and “deteriorating US-China” trade war.
“Media can either build bridges of understanding or worsen the trade wars. Thus, candid cooperation is important and effective means of trust,” Lee said.
He stressed that cooperation among news media entities in pursuing truth in reportage can deter economic challenges from affecting the 10+ 3 nations.