The conference in Dunhuang, China, was organised by the country's largest newspaper.
The 2017 Media Cooperation Forum on Belt and Road hosted by China's People's Daily newspaper opened on September 19, 2017 in Dunhuang, Gansu Province in the northwestern part of the country. Over 460 media practitioners took part in the one-day event, including more than 160 Chinese journalists and 303 media executives from 156 countries.
The forum saw the opening of the People's Daily International Study Centre made up of 10 experienced media practitioners from across the world. The Belt and Road Media Cooperation Centre and Cross-border Joint Reporting Project was also launched. It is equally composed of tested journalists from across the globe. Addressing the opening, Zhang Ping, Vice Chairman, Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress, NPC, said the China-driven Belt and Road Initiative has since gained international acknowledgement and was now a concrete plan.
Referring to the Media Cooperation Forum on Belt and Road, he said it has since four years become the largest media gathering in the world. Zhang Ping said the many cooperation deals reached ever since have enhanced communication and exchanges between the world's media. Yang Zhenwou, President of People's Daily, noted that the media forum has over the years drawn the most representative global media attendance. He said the forum has enhanced understanding and exchanges amongst media professionals, given that 23 MOUs were signed over the years with various foreign media. Moreover, 3,000 media professionals were invited to China for training and over 200 seminars and dialogues held all over the world.
According to Xavier à Tiati Messe, Managing Editor of L'Anecdote newspaper in Cameroon, the organization of the forum is a good idea because journalists need to continue to retrain. "The media in most countries that attended the conference has so much experience we can learn from," he said. He challenged Africa, especially countries in Central and West Africa, to take advantage of the Belt and Road Initiative for the private sector to also draw benefits. "China is opening up to the world in various ways and Africa needs to make maximum use of all these opportunities," Xavier Messe counselled.