Lovemore Chikova in BOAO, China
Newspapers have been urged to be innovative for them to remain afloat and find ways of co-existing with social media, which has taken the world by storm and sometimes gives citizens information in real time.
This came out at a media roundtable between Chinese media leaders and their counterparts from various Asian countries yesterday, also attended by several African journalists who are attached to the China Africa Press Centre.
The media leaders’ roundtable was being held on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2016 being held in Boao Town situated in Hainan province, a tropical Island in the east of China.
The media leaders noted that newspapers worldwide were under threat from social media and other news publishing technologies and their owners had to devise new means of survival.
“Traditional media should keep high standards,” said China’s Phoenix Satellite Television Holdings Ltd chief executive Mr Liu Changle, who is also a Standing Committee member of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.”
“We have to integrate traditional media with social media, its not easy to make progress, but we must do it.”
Mr Liu said there was need for close working relationships between media in Africa and those in Asia, as the two continents had the largest population in the world when combined.
He said the problem with social media was its peddling of rumours, with at least 70 percent of rumours being churned out in China coming through the new media technology.
Television of Cambodia director general Mr Ken Gunawadh said the major challenge was on ensuring that social media lives up to the expected standards of the media by being truthful.
“Through new media and the wide use of the Internet, right now the smartphone is part of the social media, people can show everything like videos, sounds, texts,” he said. “Social media would want to spoil everything, wants to be totally unfair through poisoning the information situation.”
India’s Sahara TV head of foreign affairs Mr Bijendia Kumur Singh said journalists had to transform their attitudes to enable them to compete with the new media technologies.
“It is clear that new media created too many problems for traditional media and other forms of media as well,” he said.
“If the Press is the Fourth Estate, then the new media is the Fifth Estate. Social media has changed the media industry domination and the creation of news has also changed. Journalists have to transform themselves to cope with the challenges posed by new media.”
Mr Wang Fanghuai of China.com said the effects of social media was already being felt in the Asian economic giant, with newspapers sales in urban areas continuing to decline.
The media leaders formed the Asia Media Co-operation Organisation that would increase more interaction among media houses in the Asian region and coming up with ways to tackle challenges they face.