Accelerate Media Integration*
January 25, 2019
As the information society continues to develop, new media see their influence expanding. The number of internet users in China stands at 802 million, 98.3 percent of them mobile internet users. News apps and various social media have become primary information sources for many people, especially the young. And everyone can be a source. It is said that in the past, "people looked for information". Now, "information follows people". Therefore, we are facing an urgent need to boost media integration and build a framework that covers all media.
Our aim is to strengthen mainstream opinion, so as to consolidate a common base of political philosophy for all Party members and people, uniting them and providing mental strength and public support for the realization of the Two Centenary Goals and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.
I. Fully Understand the Challenges and Opportunities in the Age of Media Integration
As we all know from historical records as it is stated in Lü's Spring and Autumn Annals1, "Emperor Yao set up a drum for people to beat and offer their advice, and Emperor Shun set up wooden boards for people to write down their criticisms." Their purpose was to collect public opinion. In the late Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) Chen Sheng and Wu Guang rose in revolt.2 They wrote a fabricated prophecy – "Chen Sheng will be king!" – on a piece of silk and hid it inside a fish for someone to discover. They also mimicked the barking of a fox, crying "Great Chu will rise again! Chen Sheng will be king!" Over time people came to believe it and began to support them. All this shows that the ancients knew well the importance of public opinion.
No cybersecurity, no national security. I have said this on many occasions. If we fail to adapt to the internet, we will not be in power for long. As the media keep developing on all fronts, they have taken on new features characterized by up-to-the-minute reporting, multi-dimensional coverage, widespread public participation, and targeted effect, bringing about profound changes in the means of communication and posing new challenges to our communication work.
We need to understand general trends to plan and act as required by the times. We need to accelerate media integration, so that our mainstream media will have more extensive coverage, stronger guidance, higher public trust, and more influence. The aim is to create concentric circles of diffusion, online and offline, within which all the people will be united on the basis of common ideals, convictions, values, and moral standards, so that positive energy and mainstream values prevail.
II. Fully Understand the Trends and Laws of Media Integration
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, we have emphasized the importance of guiding public opinion, giving priority to mobile media, improving media content, and promoting innovation. The integration of institutions and mechanisms, policies, procedures, technology and talent has been accelerated. Positive results have been achieved in building up integrated all-media matrices and in creating cross-media products.
Traditional and new media cannot replace each other; each serves its own purpose. They complement and promote each other without the question of one being primary and strong, while the other secondary and weak. To date, China has yet to tap the full potential of media integration. We need to keep moving towards integration and move faster from media plus to media integration. By optimizing the process and building new platforms, we aim to achieve effective integration of various media resources and production factors, such as content, technology applications, platforms, terminals and means of management. We need to facilitate qualitative changes, amplify efficiency, and create new types of mainstream media that are more influential and competitive.
I have said many times our major efforts in public discourse should be devoted to people. Where there are people, where our public communication should reach. As cyberspace has become such a new place, we should make it a priority to build public consensus there. At the same time, mobile internet has become a key channel for disseminating information. With such technologies as 5G, big data, cloud computing, internet of things, and artificial intelligence, it will enter a new stage of faster development. We must give priority to mobile media, improving state-owned communication platforms, while managing and making good use of commercial and social platforms. By means of mobile communication, the mainstream media will occupy the commanding heights in guiding public opinion and mentality, promoting culture, and serving the people.
Media intelligence is developing rapidly around the world. With a stronger sense of mission and urgency in bolstering our capability to guide public opinion, we need to make breakthroughs in the independent innovation of key technologies, exploring the application of artificial intelligence in news gathering, generating, distribution, reception and feedback. The use of algorithms must be managed in accordance with mainstream values for better guidance of public opinion.
To promote media integration we must avoid a one-size-fits-all approach, differentiating between traditional and new media, national and local media, government and commercial platforms, and mass and professional media. We should work to form an all-media communication framework featuring intensive use of resources, rational structures, differentiated development, coordination, and high efficiency.
Nothing can be accomplished without rules and regulations. Whatever the form of the media, whether online or offline, "big screen" or "small screen", none is beyond the rule of law. Those in charge of administration must fulfill their responsibilities and strengthen the management of new media in accordance with the law to ensure a cleaner cyberspace.
III. Advance In-Depth Media Integration
The application of information technology has brought us a rare opportunity. We must use the results of the information revolution to build an integrated all-media communication framework at a faster rate.
I have said many times that creating positive energy is a general requirement, and exercising effective management a top priority. Now I want to add that proper application shows real competence. Media integration does not concern news organizations only. We need to turn our public resources – social, ideological and cultural, our big data on social governance, and our institutional strengths in policy-making into strengths for enhancing our mainstream opinion. We need to pay close attention to top-level design, create new types of communication platform, establish new mainstream media, and enhance the influence of mainstream values, so that the Party's voice will spread more widely and deeply.
The internet is a double-edged sword. A picture or a video can spread widely through various media in just a few hours, and significantly impact public opinion. This kind of influence will benefit the country and the people if used properly, or may result in unpredictable damage if used improperly. We must clearly keep to the correct political and value orientations, and maintain sound guidance of public opinion. In the field of information generation, supply-side structural reform must be rolled out to significantly improve the quality and level of positive communication through innovations in concept, content, form, method and means.
When accurate and authoritative information does not spread in a timely manner, false and distorted information will mislead people; if positive and sound thoughts are not promoted, negative and misguided opinions will spread unchecked. In this regard, the mainstream media should shoulder their responsibilities and do their utmost to provide authentic, objective, and timely information with a clear-cut stance, and keep hold of the initiative in leading our public discourse. The mainstream media should be bold enough to guide and be skilled in guiding public opinion, with a firm and clear-cut stance on major issues of principle.
We must ensure that all-media communication is run under the rule of law, and adopt uniform standards and exercise integrated management for both traditional and new media. The mainstream media must publish accurate and timely news and information so as to provide news sources for other qualified media. We need to comprehensively improve our capacity for cybersecurity governance with technology, regulate the use of data resources, and guard against the risks posed by new technologies such as big data.
We must be fully aware of the trend in international communication towards mobile, social and visual media, and make more effort to build a discourse system for international communication. We also need to ensure our works are easy to understand and are readily accepted by more foreign audiences, thus constantly enhancing the impact of international communication.
More members of the international community are viewing China with reason and objectivity and offering their approval. It shows we are on the right road. It also presents good historic opportunities for the mainstream media. We must persevere in sharing Chinese stories with more confidence and enthusiasm. We aim to have a stronger voice in the world that is compatible with China's international status.
In summary, integrating the media is a great task. We must make concerted efforts across the country. Party committees and governments at all levels should give greater support to this task in terms of policies, funds and human resources. Departments in charge of information services at all levels should reform and innovate administrative mechanisms, carry out supporting policies and measures, and steer media integration in the right direction. Officials at all levels must improve their ability to handle the media so as to raise their governance ability.
* Part of the speech at the 12th group study session of the Political Bureau of the 19th CPC Central Committee.
1 Lü's Spring and Autumn Annals (Lü Shi Chun Qiu) was compiled by the followers of Lü Buwei (c. 292-235 BC), chief minister of the State of Qin during the Warring States Period.
2 This refers to the peasant uprising led by Chen Sheng and Wu Guang in the late Qin Dynasty. In 209 BC, on their way to take up their border defense duties, Qin army officers Chen Sheng and Wu Guang led 900 soldiers in a rebellion against the brutal rule of the Qin Dynasty at Dazexiang, Qixian County (southeast of today's Suzhou City, Anhui Province).
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)