Media Forum Pledges to Defend CPEC Against Misinformation and Fake News, NA President Raja Pervaiz Ashraf

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The 7th China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Media Forum was held here in Islamabad. The forum was jointly organized by the Pakistan-China Institute (PCI) and China Economic Net (CEN) in cooperation with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Pakistan. It is held as an annual event in Beijing and Islamabad every other year.

The theme of this year’s forum was “Enhancing New Media Cooperation to Describe Multidimensional and Comprehensive CPEC”.

The Forum held in-depth exchanges and discussions on topics such as “CPEC Phase 2: Opportunities and Challenges”, “Pakistan, Global Development Initiative and the Role of Media” and “CPEC Fair and Fair Reporting”.

The opening session was moderated by Mustafa Hyder Sayed, Executive Director of the Pakistan-China Institute. The Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Raja Pervez Ashraf, was the guest of honour.

The establishment of the CPEC Media Forum in 2014 paved the way not only for international information sharing and news collaboration, but also for the people of the two countries to get to know and understand each other. to know.

In his opening remarks, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed thanked China for helping Pakistan during COVID-19 by providing much-needed medical and moral support, which has saved millions of lives. China, he said, established an air corridor for 6 weeks in March-April 2020, which enhanced Pakistan’s ability to contain the pandemic at home. Commenting on the dividends of CPEC, he said that CPEC has so far created 75,000 jobs for Pakistanis and that power projects under CPEC have produced more than 5,000 MW of electricity.

While rejecting the Cold War mentality, he advocated multilateralism and connectivity and said the enemies of Pakistan-China friendship have launched a campaign of disinformation and fake news against CPEC. Relations between Pakistan and China, he said, have stood the test of time and become a particularly strong and resilient relationship.

Raja Pervez Ashraf, Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, said in his keynote address that CPEC has changed the fortunes of so many people in the country and, in fact, through CPEC, China has given a vote confidence in Pakistan’s potential to build a better future. Not even a day goes by that we don’t hear about Chinese companies developing CPEC projects in the media. The professionalism and consistency with which Chinese companies have continued to work on CPEC despite a global pandemic like COVID-19, when almost all projects around the world have encountered difficulties, has been praised by the governments of Pakistan and of China as well as by the international media. As CPEC progresses, the media’s responsibility to report CPEC fairly and factually will increase. In addition, he said that the media, since the establishment of CPEC, has played a very important role in spreading the facts about CPEC. He also commended the Pakistan-China Institute and China Economic Net for hosting the forum and said that through events like these, the two countries have a great opportunity to cement the existing friendship whatever the weather.

A special video message from Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was shown during the event. He said the Pakistan-China relationship is indeed a special relationship that has no equivalent in contemporary international relations.

For me personally, he remarked, it is a great honor to speak about this special bond because my grandfather, Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was the architect of this very relationship and in 1963, he signed a historic border agreement between Pakistan and China. He was also the last world leader to meet Chairman Mao. Furthermore, he said that the Pakistan People’s Party is committed to supporting, maintaining and continuing this relationship.

Ms. Pang Chunxue, Acting Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, said that we should encourage stronger narrative building and unite to fight fake news. Some Western countries continue to slander China on issues related to Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and spread rumors about CPEC. The media have the sacred mission of advocating order and justice. She said we should leverage our complementarity, increase positive publicity, take the lead in building stories from our own perspectives, and jointly respond to negative public opinion.

Moreover, she described CPEC as a valuable asset that has created enormous potential for media cooperation. Finally, she hopes the Chinese and Pakistani media will play a more active role as a bridge, tell true stories of China-Pakistan cooperation and cement the all-time friendship between the iron brothers.

Moin ul Haque, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, said events like the CPEC Media Forum are key to countering CPEC-related misinformation. He said that with the support of the Chinese government, the Pakistan Embassy has organized many events, including the Pakistan Film Festival; Pakistan-China puppet show, exhibition of photographs and paintings; Pakistan-China Women’s Forum; First Pakistan-China Literary Forum and Pakistan’s participation in the prestigious Beijing International Book Fair. These events rekindled the feelings of friendship between our two countries and helped to transmit the finest traditions of bilateral friendship to our younger generations.

Mustafa Hyder Sayed said that the Pakistan-China Institute, together with China Economic Net, launched the CPEC media forum and it is held in Beijing and Islamabad every other year. Last year, the Pakistan-China Institute launched the Rapid Response Information Network (RRIN) which identifies fake news about CPEC and counters it with facts.

Additionally, PCI has also launched a monograph titled “CPEC: Facts Vs Fiction”. Mustafa informed the audience that the Pakistan-China Institute will publish “The Governance of China” Part 2 and 3 in Urdu, which is authored by President Xi Jinping.

Zhao Zizhong, vice president of Economic Daily, said Asia’s development is impossible without contributions from China and Pakistan. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations more than 71 years ago, the two countries have always helped and supported each other firmly on issues concerning each other’s core interests and major concerns. In recent years, in particular, thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has achieved remarkable results, brought great benefits to the two peoples and given strong impetus to regional prosperity. Under the theme of “Enhancing New Media Cooperation to Describe the Multidimensional and Comprehensive CPEC”, he offered three suggestions, namely, to seek the truth because it is the essence of information hinges, to seek harmony because the Chinese culture values ​​harmony in diversity and seeks innovation since the characteristic of news manifests itself in new content and new forms.

Tian Yuhong, executive secretary of the All-China Association of Journalists, CPEC is an economic corridor with mutual benefits and win-win results. It is also a cultural corridor characterized by friendship and interpersonal ties. The infrastructure under the CPEC has served as a connecting bridge, while the media cooperation between the two countries has paved a way of “people-to-people bonding.” He proposed that media outlets in both countries tell true stories and spread positive energy, adopt new media technologies to create engaging content for Gen Z, and strengthen cooperation between journalists’ associations.

Yang Jiandou, CEO of All Pakistan-Chinese Enterprises Association (APCEA), said Chinese investment in Pakistan is a phenomenal opportunity for the Pakistani community to thrive and become self-sufficient. As a flagship project in Pakistan, CPEC has attracted $25 billion in foreign direct investment. CPEC is not limited to road construction but extends to capacity building in the energy sector and industry. Phase 2 of CPEC comprises a total of 27 projects which are planned to improve seven different sectors in Pakistan. These are agriculture, health, education, drinking water supply, the fight against poverty and vocational and school training.

Hameed Haroon, CEO of Dawn Media Group, said he had the privilege of leading a media delegation to China in the early 1980s and subsequent visits to China were unforgettable in my mind. Commenting on the philosophy of 3 Cs i.e. corridors, cultures and connectivity advocated by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, he said that these 3 Cs are the basis of his message to the forum. He said there is a need for cross-cultural cooperation and understanding to cement the existing people-to-people bond, which is seen as the core of the unique bond between Pakistan and China. The main form of cultural exchange through cultural artifacts, scholars, historians and philosophy started on the Silk Road which is an ancient historical route dating back over 2000 years and part of history of Pakistan which cannot be understood without the stories of the Chinese. pilgrims who traveled in these early periods from China to Pakistan. We must promote a good understanding of CPEC and we must not be victims of Western-style propaganda that simply does not seek to win us over to their cause but to keep us as a subordinate assistant in their international maneuvers. Journalist Najma Minhas insisted on the need to decouple geopolitics from CPEC and focus on its people-centered development.

Li Yue, vice president and director of China Economic Information Service at Xinhua News Agency, said that we will use diversified platforms, channels and models to disseminate CPEC’s updated information, tell good stories about China-Pakistan cooperation and create favorable public opinion. atmosphere to achieve “hard connectivity” of infrastructure, “soft connectivity” of system rules, and “connectivity between people” through information connectivity.

Wang Qianting of China Media Group said the benefits of the CPEC project for the Pakistani society are obvious. At a time when the economy is generally facing imported inflationary pressures, the media, while maintaining the necessary criticism, should give more confidence to the public and guide public opinion to build consensus to jointly overcome the difficulties.

Ambassador ®️ Aizaz Chaudhry, director general of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad, said China’s vision of creating a community with a common future is a visionary step for the betterment of humanity since it is the connection between the humanities that ultimately matters.

Additionally, he said we need to counter and control false propaganda through data-driven reporting.

After the speeches, a book titled “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC): Stories Behind” was launched by Cui Jin, editor-in-chief of China Economic Net.

At the end of the forum, 4 notable journalists from Pakistan also received the CPEC Communication Awards. They included Muhammad Asif Noor, Tahir Ali, Hafiz Tahir Khalil and Syed Kamal Hussain Shah.

Melvin B. Baillie