President Xi Jinping meets with the editors and other staff in the newsroom at the headquarters of People's Daily newspaper. [Photo/Xinhua]
After making an inspection tour of People's Daily, Xinhua News Agency, and China Central Television on Friday, President Xi Jinping hosted a conference on the Communist Party of China's media work, and talked about how the traditional media should adapt to the changing situation brought about by social media. Xiake Island, a popular commentator on the WeChat platform says:
There was a time when newspapers and television were the only providers of information. However, today everybody can register a micro blog account and spread information faster than traditional media outlets do. Newspapers and television now react and interact with all kinds of voices emerging on social media platforms.
That in turn has created a crisis for the traditional media. Domestic media institutions that cannot adapt to the new situation continue reporting the world as they used to, which is different from the daily experiences of ordinary people. This has resulted in people's lack of trust in State-run media outlets.
The Party has always held "the mass line", maintaining an open attitude toward people's opinions, as an essential principle of governance. That applies to its journalistic work, too. If the current split continues, the legitimacy of the Party might decline.
It is necessary for the media to restore people's trust in the Party, especially as the economy has entered a new normal and suggestions that it is declining and dragging down the global economy have emerged.
That's why Xi has made the inspection and hosted the conference. The nation's media outlets are essential to political stability and the leadership cannot afford to wait for them to catch up with the times.
There were some notable points in his speech. For example, he talked about how to properly guide public opinion. Even good guidance needs proper forms; sermons only make people tired. Besides, while the media needs to report the positive aspects of the society, it must also cover the negative side, too, so that social progress is possible.