|Statement by Mr. LIU Yutong of the Chinese Delegation at the Fourth Committee of the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly on "Questions Relating to Information"|
New York, 15 October 2009
The Chinese delegation extends its appreciation to Under-Secretary-General Kiyotaka Akasaka for his informative statement on this agenda item. We endorse the statement made by Sudan on Tuesday on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. Over the past year, under Mr. Akasaka's able leadership, the DPI has summed up its experience, rationally allocated the existing resources, and made progress and innovation in its work in all aspects. We highly appreciate these efforts.
In the just concluded general debate of the 64th session of the General Assembly, delegates from 192 countries, including more than 130 heads of state or government, made statements on the current international situation, global financial and economic crisis, and regional hotspot issues. In addition, the United Nations convened the Summit on Climate Change and the Security Council Summit on Non-proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament, which drew extensive attention from the media and people around the world. This shows that all governments attach great importance to the United Nations, and expect the organization to play its role in responding to various common challenges facing mankind. As everyone can see, the DPI did an outstanding and commendable job during last month's summits.
The Chinese delegation is of the view that a more balanced and impartial information and communication order will help countries work together to address various problems, crises and challenges. Over the past year, the DPI has provided and disseminated information to people across the world in an objective, accurate and timely manner, thus helping people appreciate the efforts made by the UN in various areas, the measures taken and results achieved, and playing an exemplary role for the world media. News media, especially the mainstream Western media outlets with international influence, should follow the example of the DPI in giving top priority to providing accurate information and balanced coverage. They should abandon biases and prejudices, and refrain from seeking sensational or dramatic effect simply to attract the attention of readers and audience. They should also accuse and redress the unhealthy practice by a handful of journalists such as quoting out of context, making irresponsible comments, wanton exaggeration, distortion and falsification, and providing misleading information. News practitioners should not be opinion leaders or public opinion shapers, but rather reliable information providers, who provide objective, accurate and timely information service for their readers or audience, help people learn about the truth and form their own opinions, attitudes and reaction. Only by developing a set of professional and ethical codes of conduct conducive to information dissemination and forging an enabling atmosphere for objective and impartial news coverage can news media play a better role in media scrutiny and make indirect contribution to world peace, stability, development and prosperity.
The Chinese delegation has the following expectations for the future work of the DPI:
First, the DPI should attach greater importance to development. The majority of the 192 UN Member States are developing countries. Their governments are all shouldering the historic responsibility of developing the economy and improving the livelihood of their people. Development lies at the heart of all the challenges facing mankind, including climate change, the financial and economic crisis, the food crisis, energy shortage, and terrorism. The DPI should steer the media and the public, through thematic advocacy and information service, to form a correct understanding of the issue of development and draw their attention to the importance of development, especially the difficulties confronting developing countries in their economic and social endeavors. This will help forge common ground on resolving these issues through development, and prompt the international community to do what it can to provide assistance to developing countries.
Second, the DPI should continue to promote dialogue and exchanges among civilizations. The media should be encouraged and guided to form correct opinion and profound understanding of the diversity of human civilizations, play a constructive role in promoting the friendly interaction among civilizations and religions, reduce and eradicate biases and prejudices based on religion, race or culture through information sharing and dialogue on an equal footing, and promote the harmony and prosperity of various cultures in the world.
Third, efforts should be made to accommodate the special needs of developing countries in gaining access to information. More and more people in developed countries and some developing countries are enjoying the benefits of the new advances in information technology, particularly the resources and convenience provided by the internet. Many developing countries, China included, however, still rely to a large extent on radio, television, books, magazines, newspapers and other traditional means for information dissemination. The work of the DPI should help narrow, rather than widen the gap among different countries in communication of information. In this connection, while putting emphasis on strengthening the development of the UN website and exploring the use of socializing websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and video sharing tools such as YouTube, the DPI should not reduce its input in traditional communication forms. In addition, the parity of languages, as a common aspiration of all countries, has every reason to be fully emphasized by the DPI. We are confident that, even without an increase in the budget, the DPI still has a role to play in this regard. We welcome suggestions and proposals on this issue from our colleagues, and stand ready to work with others to find a solution.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.