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One year on, Xi's speech injects vitality into media

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-02-19 21:09

BEIJING -- China's major media outlets have carried articles profiling the changes to news reporting since President Xi Jinping gave a speech on the Communist Party of China's (CPC) media and publicity work.

On Feb. 19 last year, Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, visited the People's Daily, Xinhua News Agency and China Central Television (CCTV), the nation's three leading news providers. Later that day he presided over a symposium on the Party's media work.

During the symposium, Xi ordered all news media run by the CPC and the Chinese government to strictly follow the Party's leadership and focus on "positive reporting."

According to Xi, the Party's media work should unite and guide the general public, serve the country's overall interests, tell right from wrong and connect China to the world.

Calling for innovative concepts, content and methods, Xi told media groups to make use of new media's edge in publicity, amplify their voices on the international stage, tell stories about China well and build flagship media groups with strong global influence.

The People's Daily ran an article Sunday that said the past year had seen great changes across all media outlets thanks to the "fresh vitality" following Xi's speech.

The credibility of mainstream media had markedly improved, it said, adding that they had become more influential and their output was more appealing and persuasive.

The article praised the "reasoned voice" of media outlets when covering issues of public concern, such as employment, health services, education and food safety. It also lauded the "creativity and innovation" of Internet and new media products.

A Xinhua commentary Friday said the media work in the past year had generated a positive energy that motivated the people to work toward realizing the Chinese dream of great national renewal.

Other articles also highlighted changes that aimed to better tell China stories.

One of the most high-profile moves to this end was the rebranding of CCTV news as China Global Television Network (CGTN) at the end of 2016.

Statistics showed that the CGTN's content was accessed by about 400 million users from countries and regions across the world, a clear indication of its global reach.

Observers said the world is looking to China like never before. However, there remains a gap between the real China and how the country is perceived by the world.

The Xinhua commentary said Chinese media's international communication skills should be honed so that China stories are told well.

In the same vein, observers said, China must amplify its voice so that the nation's message is heard overseas.

As an example of achievements made in this regard, in 2016 more than 700 People's Daily stories were translated into over 20 languages and published by mainstream media outlets of international influence.

Also in the past year, Xinhua increased the average number of its daily stories for overseas service to 4,500, with more than 100 commentaries on international issues carried by mainstream Western media.

Developments were also made in promoting overseas social networking platforms operated by leading Chinese media.

Accounts run by the People's Daily attracted about 35 million followers, while the figures for Xinhua and CCTV stood at about 23 million and 50 million respectively, statistics showed.

While visiting CCTV's multimedia division on Sunday, Liu Qibao, head of the publicity department of the CPC Central Committee, encouraged all mainstream news providers to refine their craft and push for multimedia integration, which would help them improve their competitiveness and expand their reach.

"Mainstream media outlets are proactively [..] responding to Western media outlets' blurred or distorted opinions of China," said Shi Anbin, a professor of journalism and communication with Tsinghua University.

Shi went on to say that due to the efforts of the last year, the standard of China's news and public opinion work is more commensurate with the nation's improving strength and international status.

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