Social Responsibility of Journalists

Mr Nalin Aponso, President of Sri Lanka China Journalists Forum (SLCJF) recently speaks at the event organized by the All-China Journalists Association on Belt and Road Initiative where he talked about the social responsibility of the journalists.


First of all, I would like to thank the organizers for this valuable initiative and for giving me the opportunity to speak.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Over the past few years, various articles, essays, opinions, and documentaries, have been published on this astonishing development project. Many believe that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) initiated by China is the largest humanitarian project launched by a single state in human civilization. China is building bridges to unite nations around the globe while some states with vested interests are using modern technologic tools to show off their power and hurts unarmed civilians. But, this flagship development intuitive is a major milestone for humanity and its benefits will be available for generations to come. This is a fact-based initiative, not rhetoric. Facts beat eloquence.

Belt and Road Initiative is a project based on the principles of comprehensive consulting, joint venture and shared benefits. It follows the subjective roots of the Silk Road, which include peace and cooperation, openness and mutual understanding, and mutual benefit. It focuses on policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unhindered trade, financial integration and people-to-people connectivity. The key to this remarkable initiative is to turn ideas into action and vision into reality and make it a widely accepted invention of the international community. However, I do not intend to talk about it here as we all know how this project started and its objectives.

I strongly believe that there should be a continuous dialogue on the social responsibility of the media in educating the public about this project. It is unfortunate that in the face of the current media practice that tends to prioritize conflict and negative news reporting, projects for the betterment of human civilization have fallen victim to the parasite of fake news. As a result, the space for awareness of the core values of such a project has shrunk.

What is our responsibility in such a context? Journalists widely acknowledge that journalism must serve society in an ethical and responsible manner. However, sometimes most mass media processes have unintended negative consequences, such as defamation, exclusion, polarization, or a disproportionately negative trend. As a result, viewers and readers may feel that journalism is unable to maintain a fair and constructive discussion and is therefore moving away from mass media. Confidence is difficult to rebuild once disrupted. To prevent this, it is important that everyone works to advance the social responsibility of journalism. No one can do this alone. It is our collective responsibility. With this basic fact, it is easy to understand the responsibility of the media towards the Belt and Road Initiative and I believe that it will give us a path to constructing constructive responsive mechanism to the false and misleading information spread by some parties regarding this project. As a Chinese saying goes, “a good memory can’t beat a bad pen.” Let’s apply this thought among others to our profession and uphold the values of the social responsibility in journalism.

Sri Lanka China Journalists' Forum was established in May 2001 as the Sri Lanka - China Young Journalists' Forum and was in force as a main association that promotes mutual understanding between Sri Lanka and China.

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