At the first “Belt and Road” forum for international cooperation” held in Beijing on 14 and 15 May 2017, the new “Belt and Road News Alliance media alliance” was unveiled.
Introduction to the News Alliance
This project was already formulated in April 2016 by the Chinese State Council, but this new alliance will really take shape from now on.
The aim of this new media will consist in presenting activities and news related to the Belt and Road.
To date, 33 media have agreed to join this initiative launched by the China Central Television (CCTV). The alliance brings together media from China, Hong Kong, Macau, and some 20 foreign countries including the Philippines, Mongolia, Romania and Ukraine.
The challenges of the media alliance of the Belt and Road
This media network will increase the visibility of the “Belt and Road” initiative to the public; but to be effective, this network will have to fulfill several conditions.
The alliance should encourage debate, not glorify the OBOR but show its reality in order to appear trustable to the general audience and decision-makers.
Furthermore, the alliance must conduct activities in an independent way. It must give the floor to officials, entrepreneurs and inhabitants living along the new Silk roads.
Despite the importance of China in the “Belt and Road” initiative, the alliance should not be seen as the voice of China; this network should leave plenty of room for non-Chinese news to encourage foreign media to join the alliance.
One should bear in mind that the Belt and Road News Alliance will be the showcase for the entire OBOR project. Managers of this network should therefore promote good governance and transparency within its structure.
The European experience
European networks, because of their experience in the field of media cooperation, have a major role to play in this alliance. Building a network made of several foreign media requires expertise, -and European networks have this expertise-.
One can thus note three major trans-European television networks: Euronews, Arte and TV5Monde.
Euronews, the European news channel, broadcasts in thirteen languages on the European continent. It is the most popular news channel in Europe.
Arte, a Franco-German television channel created in 1991, specializes in culture.
Finally, TV5Monde, the French-speaking channel, brings together French, Belgian, Swiss and Canadian partners.
The Belt and Road News Alliance is not a mere communication project. President Xi Jinping, in his speech at the International Cooperation Forum, recalled that OBOR was not only made up of roads and pipelines but should also lead to the development of innovative industries and increase trade and cultural relations between project members. The News Alliance is therefore an important component of the OBOR, so it is necessary for all the countries, and in particular the members of the European Union, to participate.