Relationship between media and state in the spotlight

Moscow – The relationship between the media and the state has come under the spotlight at the World Media Summit, currently underway in Russia.

Speaker of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house, Sergei Naryshkin, has told the more than 300 summit delegates there should be international rules to regulate relations between the mass media and the state.

Addressing the summit, which opened on Thursday, he said in the current conditions the state has to react to new challenges in the information arena.

He said the two issues at play were the restriction of freedom of information, and the state’s responsibility to protect the security of its citizens, including information security.

“On the one hand, any careless move the state might take in respect of the mass media will be interpreted as an attempt to restrict the freedom of speech and free dissemination of information,” Naryshkin said. On the other hand, “one of the functions of any state is to ensure security of its citizens, including information security”.

In this respect, the speaker  said he thought it necessary to organise a dialogue in order to work out common rules. He said there should be an internationally recognised model of regulating the mass media by the authorities, so that such regulation would not hamper the development of democratic society but, at the same time, restrain those possible negative forms of a new information environment all world nations are now facing.

“So far, there are no ready-to-use solutions,” he stressed, adding that he hoped that the summit would yield “new models of relations within the communication between the authorities and society”.

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With regard to these conditions, the state “must be not merely transparent and clear but also it must take an active position in building its relations with the media,” he said.

At least 300 managers representing more than 213 mass media from 102 countries are participating in the World Media Summit. Among them are presidents, directors general and chief editors of news agencies, television channels and radio stations such as Associated Press, BBC, Reuters, NBC, Al Jazeera, Kyodo, Xinhua, MENA.

Delegates will over the next few days discuss issues relating to the development of electronic mass media, the significance of social networks in the present-day world, the relationship between mass media and business, and problems of journalistic ethics.

They will also discuss the role of the press in world political changes, the model of mass media survival amidst the economic crisis and key tendencies for the transformation of traditional media. – SAnews.gov.za