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World media summit opens in Moscow

MOSCOW, July 5 — The World Media Summit entitled "World Media: Challenges of the 21st Century" that opened in Moscow on Thursday brought together an unprecedented number of delegates – more than 300 top executives of 213 mass media bodies from 103 countries.

Among participants in the forum are directors and chief editors of such world’s leading news agencies as the Associated Press, BBC, Reuters, NBC, Al Jazeera, Kyodo, Xinhua, and MENA as well as heads of international organizations, including UNESCO, and a delegation from the European Parliament.

The chairman of the organizing committee, ITAR-TASS Director-General Vitaly Ignatenko, addressed the audience on behalf of the organizers of the forum. He read out a message of greeting from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“It is important your forum has been building up its authority – as an influential public discussion floor for considering topical and pressing issues of today. The mass media’s concerted stance can and must play a tangible, truly unique role in addressing these issues. It is the diversity of media resources – from daily newspapers to television channels and electronic mass media and the Internet – that largely determines the current and future realities in world politics, the economy and in all spheres of life. This role requires high professional civil and moral responsibility.”

Putin emphasized the importance the summit’s agenda included such issues as the evolvement of ethical norms for the media community to follow, the guarantees of impartiality and independence of journalism, ways of ensuring the freedom of speech, the promotion of an equitable and constructive dialogue with the bodies of state power, business quarters and non-governmental organizations.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in his message of greeting pointed to the importance of ensuring the independence of mass media.

“In the modern volatile world the importance of information exchanges keeps growing,” Medvedev said in a message of greeting to the participants in the World Media Summit. It is important to ensure the daily newspapers and television and radio channels and world web resources should be able to operate independently, for the benefit of society, provide an impartial coverage of events and reflect the entire spectrum of opinions and positions and contribute to the preservation of cultural diversity and the promotion of humanitarian values.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the participants in the summit with a video message. He pointed to the soaring threats to the freedom of the press around the world. He recalled that over the past ten years over 500 journalists lost their lives while on duty. Sixty six of them were killed this year alone. Those subjected to arrests or threats or who had to keep quiet due to intimidation or censorship are too numerous to count.

Ban Ki-moon said the governments should do their utmost to protect journalists, fight with impunity and achieve justice. The freedom of speech is a basic human right and one of the main UN obligations. Free mass media are extremely important for genuine democracy and sustainable development.”

Mass Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov on behalf of his ministry also greeted the participants in the summit. He described as symbolic the very fact that the words “mass communications” were present in the official name of his ministry.

“If we take a look at this theme from the standpoint of section meetings, we shall see the theme of electronic mass media, a diversity of models, business models, social media issues and the Internet,” he said.

“It is obvious that the technological revolution that the world and our country is experiencing is fundamentally changing the established formats and influences the traditional kinds of media,” Nikiforov said. He expressed the certainty that “this forum will become one of the floors where experts from around the world will be able to discuss the most important and acute issues.”

On the agenda of the two-day summit are the most topical issues the mass media are confronted with around the world. For instance, the development of electronic mass media, the role of social networks in the modern media space, relationships between the media and businesses and journalistic ethics.

The representatives of the professional community are to discuss the role of mass media in the ongoing political changes, the model of mass media’s survival in the context of the economic crisis and the main trends in the transformation of traditional mass media.

An exhibition telling the history of the Russian-language press abroad entitled Russia that We Have Preserved will be open in the building of the International Trade Center throughout the summit. (PNA/Itar-Tass)

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