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Media leaders say coverage must bridge cultures

Updated: 2016-09-27 08:02
By Tang Yue (China Daily)

The vast diversity of cultures along the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative poses challenges to media as they report on the huge project, making appreciation of and respect for differences vital to the coverage, media leaders from China and overseas said on Monday.

"The media coverage has been abundant since the proposal of the initiative and largely supportive. Yet people still have some misunderstandings," said Kang Bing, deputy-editor-in-chief of China Daily, at the media session of the International Seminar on the Belt and Road Initiative. The two-day seminar is co-organized by China Daily.

People in the countries along the routes of the initiative are of different ethnic groups, have different religious beliefs and speak more than 50 languages among them, said Hu Bangsheng, vice-president of China Radio International.

"It is never easy to conduct cross-cultural communication, especially when it is about something new and when nationalism is on the rise globally," he said.

Sun Yusheng, vice-president of China Central Television, said: "It is impossible to have a unified value among the different countries and we have to accept that. But we can try to have empathy for different cultures and be committed to factual reporting."

Despite the cultural differences, data is a universal language that can be a highly effective tool in reporting on the initiative, which focuses on fostering economic collaboration, said Liu Yue, executive editor for greater China at Bloomberg News.

"The initiative promotes economic development through trade and investment cooperation in such a large part of the world. And data allows businesspeople to compare the situations of different ages and in different regions," Liu said.

Sameh El-Shahat of Eypyt, president of China-i, a China-focused consulting company, said the initiative also gives Chinese media a chance to be more relevant in Africa, where they can "not only (report) on Chinese issues, but also African issues".

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