Xi pledges to make China media more up to date

Updated: 2014-08-19 06:50

By Zhao Lei(China Daily)

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Xi's communications drive viewed as opening new chapter for the industry

President Xi Jinping pledged on Monday to establish a modern communications system in China, the first time that he has spoken about integration in the media.

Xi said during a meeting in Beijing, which focused on ways to deepen overall reforms, that China should spare no effort in forming a number of new types of mainstream media with multiple communication platforms, advanced transmitting methods and a competitive edge.

He vowed to establish several modern media groups with powerful journalistic strength, credibility and public influence, and asked the government to diversify and modernize the nation's media system.

Xi asked traditional news outlets and new-media organizations to adopt cutting-edge technologies, while encouraging them to improve the quality of their news products. He said traditional and new media should complement each other in terms of content, channels, platforms, operations and management.

Industry experts said the top leadership has realized the importance of integrating traditional and new media platforms, which will open a new chapter for the news business in China.

"It is apparent that the government has listed integration between traditional and emerging media among its national strategies," said Chen Lidan, a journalism professor at Renmin University of China.

"However, integration doesn't mean simple addition of new functions or channels. It requires awareness of innovation, change of old thinking and an open mind."

The top leadership's determination will speed up the transformation of traditional news organizations, he said.

But it will take some time to remove obstacles in related technology and antiquated communications practices still popular in some traditional media, Chen added.

"All traditional media organizations around the world have been exploring ways to transform themselves to adapt to the fast-changing industry and survive the impact of new media," the professor said.

Chen said, "It is very significant that the president urged publicity officials to intensify 'Internet thinking', because such remarks indicate the top leaders are fully aware of the trend in the news industry in the Internet era."

Ma Xiaolin, a veteran journalist and commentator in Beijing, suggested that traditional media learn from their emerging competitors on how to make their news products timelier, more compact and to bring them closer to their audiences.

"Xi's move will narrow the huge gaps between old and new media in a wide range of fields," he said.

Xi had given new media a level playing field and they could now stand together with traditional media "I think he aims to achieve an entirely connected media network that is able to best serve the public interest."

Wu Hui, a professor of Party-building at the Party School of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said the integration will create challenges and opportunities for the media, adding that the outcome will depend on how they take advantage of the situation.

He said the top leadership is paying increased attention to new media's role in society.