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Gov't officials to boost communication levels
( 2004-01-05 11:39) (China Daily)

Regular press conferences first started in China in 1983 by the Foreign Ministry to explain the Chinese Government's stance and policies concerning major domestic and foreign issues. Other ministries, including the National Bureau of Statistics, followed suit.

The outbreak of SARS greatly enhanced the mechanism. To date, almost all government ministries and more than 10 provincial-level governments have started news-release mechanism.

The office started training spokespersons in September 2003, and two training sessions have been completed for 177 new spokespersons.

The programmes featured case studies and exercises, and invited senior government spokespeople and specialists from universities to give lectures on news releases, public relations and language skills.

"Because of the limited understanding of China by foreigners,?Zhao said. "we are willing to establish partnerships with some overseas media, and we hope to see better, objective and fair foreign media reports on China.?

He also noted the Chinese media industry is changing to better satisfy the needs and interests of its audiences and is paying more attention to marketing and profits following China's WTO entry.

Domestic media "have been playing an increasingly larger role in 'supervising?the work of the government in the last few years,?Zhao observed in encouragement.

While promoting the establishment of large domestic media groups, Zhao said, China has already opened the business operation of websites and distribution of print-media products to foreign investors.

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