Independent Media executive chairperson, Dr Iqbal Survé, was appointed to the First Council of the Belt and Road News Network (BRNN) at a highly exclusive gathering of world media leaders in Beijing on Tuesday.
Survé was the only South African to be invited to serve on the First Council, which represents 26 countries and 39 media organisations.
The BRNN has become the largest and most widely participated media event in China, promoting practical co-operation among media from different countries.
Chinese President, Xi Jinping, sent a congratulatory note to the BRNN First Council, which was read by His Excellency Mr Huang Kunming, a senior member of the Politburo and Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. In it, President Xi Jinping encouraged participants in the One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative to follow the Silk Road spirit of “peace and co-operation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit to turn it into a road of peace, prosperity, openness, green development and innovation and a path that brings together different civilizations”.
The OBOR, which is the brainchild of President Xi Jinping, is an ambitious project that focuses on improving connectivity and co-operation among multiple countries spread across the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe along two routes – one overland and one maritime.
Survé was commended for his role as the co-chairperson of the BRICS Media Forum and his appointment to the First Council builds on this chairpersonship.
In his opening speech, he said media owners and leaders representing millions of readers throughout the world had an important role to play in ensuring that the global community understood, and was kept informed of the developments of the OBOR Initiative. “As trade networks are forged across the world, so too should media networks and alliances be formed. It is important for the media to embrace the spirit of the One Belt One Road Initiative – openness, inclusivity, sharing, co-operation, innovation and sustainability,” said Survé.
He emphasised the importance of a multidimensional, multitiered and wide-ranging co-operation pattern for connectivity on the global stage. “The world is undergoing major development, transformation and adjustment, as we face growing uncertainties and destabilising factors but, building a community of common destiny remains the main objective for the development of humanity,” he said.
“Co-operation and communication are the cornerstones of the success of the OBOR initiative and we are extremely privileged to form a circle of friends who share a common goal – to create a global media network to promote the building of the Belt and Road,” said Survé.
Referring to Independent Media’s sister company, African News Agency (ANA), Survé noted the role that ANA could play in promoting the broader OBOR goals to the millions of people in Africa. “ANA is perfectly positioned to play a meaningful role in the BRNN. Africa has many untold stories that should be heard and many investment opportunities that should be shared.”
Survé will also be participating in a panel discussion at the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation on Thursday with the theme “Shared Benefits: BRI and Global Economy with Inclusive, Win-Win Benefits”.
The Council meeting concluded with Council members agreeing to mutual assistance, collaboration and exchanges among media organisations of the countries along the Belt and Road. The BRNN also aims to hold media co-operation forums and dialogues, encourage media innovation, arrange activities such as joint reporting trips, organise training workshops and programmes and introduce a media award.
The BRNN used the occasion to launch its new website and app which will be available in eight languages.