BRICS media groups look to boost synergy amid new challenges

Initiatives include joint training of journalists and exploring the application of new technologies.

July 10, 2022 03:03 pm | Updated 03:04 pm IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders attends the 14th ‘BRICS Summit’ through a video conference, in New Delhi, on June 23, 2022.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders attends the 14th ‘BRICS Summit’ through a video conference, in New Delhi, on June 23, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Prominent media groups from the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries on Friday committed to stepping up dialogue and finding ways to generate strong synergies as they confront new common challenges, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

An action plan released following the Fifth BRICS Media Forum “committed to supporting and facilitating” BRICS media organisations through a range of initiatives, from joint training of journalists to exploring the application of new technologies, such as smart content production, smart broadcasting, satellite news, and AI anchors.

The Forum was established in 2015 by media organisations from the five countries, including The Hindu, Brazil’s CMA Group, Russia’s Sputnik, China’s Xinhua and South Africa’s Independent Media. 

China is the BRICS chair this year, with President Xi Jinping last month hosting the 14th BRICS leaders summit virtually, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other BRICS leaders. Xinhua, which hosted the media forum this year, said Friday’s virtual gathering was attended by nearly 300 representatives of over 170 media organisations from 73 developing countries.

‘New period of turbulence’

N. Ram, a member of the Presidium of the BRICS Media Forum representing The Hindu and Director, The Hindu Publishing Group, told the forum it was “our common understanding that this is a new period of turbulence as well as of transformation.” 

“It is a time of unprecedented changes and of the evolution of a pandemic that has wreaked havoc, on many fronts, on an unaccustomed global scale but may be reaching an end, so much so that we can hopefully begin soon to address a post-pandemic situation,” he said. “In this pursuit, the BRICS Partnership, which has been forged through 14 BRICS Summits held since June 2009, represents a highly positive force with a special part to play.”

He pointed to the recently held BRICS International Journalism Online Training Programme, conducted over three months, as an example of practical cooperation that brought in experienced journalists and scholars from the five BRICS countries to give lectures supplemented by assignments to 25 trainees drawn from these countries.

Since the launch of the BRICS Media Forum in 2015, the grouping had held four forums and five presidium meetings in Beijing, Cape Town and Sau Paulo, said Fu Hua, President of Xinhua News Agency, adding that “as the world enters yet another period of turbulence and transformation, BRICS media need to inject more positive energy into the world… and further expand the space for exchange, cooperation and interaction among BRICS media organisations.”

Jose Juan Sanchez, President of CMA Group in Brazil, said COVID-19 and the Ukraine crisis presented “a series of challenges but more responsibilities” to explain the impact on the world economy, particularly from the perspective of emerging countries.

Iqbal Surve, Executive Chairman of  the Independent Media Group in South Africa, which will take over as BRICS’ host next year, pointed to the potential for greater digital cooperation. “Many of our BRICS partners,” he said, “lead the global charge in the fourth industrial revolution.”

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