JOHANNESBURG– The Sixth BRICS Media Forum kicked off Saturday at Houghton Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa, calling for strengthening the voices of developing countries.
About 200 deputies from around 100 media outlets, think tanks and international organizations from about 30 countries held discussions under the theme of “BRICS and Africa: Strengthening Media Dialogue for a Shared and Unbiased Future.”
Media outlets of BRICS countries bear significant responsibilities in this era and enjoy vast room for cooperation, said Fu Hua, president of Xinhua News Agency, at the opening ceremony of the forum.
To advance the high-quality development of cooperation among BRICS media, Fu, also executive chairman of the BRICS Media Forum, proposed promoting the shared values of humanity, jointly advancing the building a more just and equitable international order, better narrating BRICS stories in the new era, and jointly promoting cultural exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations.
Dakota Legoete, member of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress, spoke at the opening of the forum. “Since its establishment in 2015, the BRICS Media Forum has become an important platform to enhance the voice of BRICS countries,” he said.
While some countries attempt to monopolize the international discourse and weaponize the media to attack other sovereign states, the BRICS media have demonstrated that the media should be committed to promoting world development, rather than becoming a tool to provoke wars, Legoete said.
Andrey Kondrashov, director-general of Russia’s TASS news agency, said that over the past decade, the forum has become a distinctive and iconic platform for discussing media cooperation among member states.
He called on the BRICS media to collaborate in countering disinformation and safeguarding the interests of developing countries.
The Western media depict Africa as something horrible where war, hunger and disease are rampant, said Elizaveta Brodskaya, first deputy editor-in-chief of Russia Today, adding that stories released by media outlets other than the Western ones are labelled as “disinformation” once they diverge from the Western narrative.
Jose Juan Sanchez, chief of Brazil’s financial and agricultural information provider CMA Group, stressed the importance of credible and impartial news information.
“Communication among BRICS media is crucial, and the member countries should seek sustainable development in economic, environmental and social areas,” he said.
The BRICS Media Forum has made significant contributions in amplifying the international voice of member states and promoting globalization, with peace and cooperation remaining its main goals, said Helio Doyle, president of the Brazil Communication Company.
The diverse cultures of the BRICS nations enrich the global conversations, and the BRICS media advocate for an inclusive, cooperative and just new world order, said Iqbal Surve, executive chairman of Independent Media of South Africa.
The forum sheds light on the challenges faced by developing nations, providing them with a platform to express their perspectives and aspirations, Surve noted.
The BRICS Media Forum was proposed by Xinhua News Agency in 2015 and jointly initiated with mainstream media outlets from Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa.
The sixth forum, co-hosted by Xinhua News Agency and the China Energy Investment Corporation (China Energy) as well as organizations from South Africa, aims to promote practical cooperation among BRICS media outlets.