Guo Ji (郭纪): Freedom of Speech and the Media’s Responsibility

From the Beijing-based Party magazine , translated by David Bandurski of the China Media Project, Hong Kong University:

To keep to the road of peace and development, this is the grand promise China has made to the world. To this end, China has raised high the flags of peace, development and cooperation. It has pursued an independent foreign policy of peace and an open strategy of mutual benefit. It has earnestly practiced what it advocates, with the goal of building a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity. In recent years, China’s path of opening and reform, its unity and initiative, its fairness and friendliness, its honesty and sense of responsibility, have won greater and greater respect in the international community, and led to a more objective, rational and friendly disposition [toward China]. However, China’s efforts and earnestness have met with an international public opinion environment (国际舆论环境) stacked unfairly against it. A small number of Western media have managed to dominate the international news and information order (国际新闻传播秩序), masking the truth, disseminating prejudices, creating through human effort one after another “iron curtain” and “vast divide,” seriously impeding interaction, conversation and mutual understanding between peoples.

The time has come to reflect on the current international news and information order

…The inequality of the international news and information order, its lack of freedom and fairness, is now impelling a number of victimized nations to strengthen their capacity for projecting information internationally (国际传播能力). This has become a matter of necessity. Another result of this has been a loss of credibility and influence among some Western media. Respect for facts and the truth is the basis of all dialogue. If even the facts can be twisted in order to blacken, distort and demonize a nation, and the most basic honesty and sincerity is lost, then the only way we can deal with them is to say: “Ignore them!”

Modern China’s relationship with the world has undergone historic changes. And China’s fate and future are closely tied to the fate of the world. We propose the creation of a free and fair international news and information order. We know this will not be easy. But we are confident that in step with economic globalization and a multi-polar world, in step with a developing rational consensus about the common face of humanity, the international order — in the area of the economy, politics, culture and information — must continue to develop in a more just and reasonable direction.

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