Beijing - Publishing group Independent Media is now part of a new international network of media outlets who will exchange content and training opportunities linked to the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative.
Founded in the build-up to China's second Belt and Road Forum later this week, the Belt and Road News Network (BRNN) aims to "strengthen understanding, friendship and co-operation" between media from countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Independent Media is a founding signatory of the BRNN's first council meeting joint statement, along with 39 other media organisations.
The organisation is led by China's People's Daily, one the largest news organisations in Asia.
The BRNN's charter states that as chair of the organisation, People's Daily will supervise and push forward the implementation of the major work of the BRNN.
In a congratulatory letter, Chinese president Xi Jinping said that the BRNN council members were expected promote BRI to yield more substantial results for the people living in countries along the Belt and Road.
He also said that the network offered a platform for co-operation and communication between media outlets and that it was good to see the media's role in bringing BRI partners closer.
Independent Media's executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé was among the founding council members of the network and delivered one of the opening speeches at the launch.
In his remarks, Survé said, "The importance of this initiative cannot be underestimated as the world looks on to see how the One Belt One Road developmental projects and initiatives will be implemented to bring about a more connected international community and an inclusive just new world order.
"As trade networks are forged across the world, so too should media networks and alliances be formed.
"As media owners and leaders representing publications and media platforms that impact on the lives of millions of people, our role is extremely important to ensure that the global community understands and is kept informed of the developments of the One Belt One Road initiative."
Another African media executive, Olusegun Adeniyi, the chairman of the editorial board of Nigeria's This Day newspaper, also spoke about the role of the media in shaping the BRI.
"We need a new narrative, that will also look at the prospect of shared prosperity rather than one fixated on anticipated problems.
"That is why the BRNN is important. So we can share our varying experiences, in a more objective manner, without glossing over the challenges along the journey," he said.
- Among the items on the BRNN's work plan for the next two years are:
- Adding more media organisations to the network;
- creating a platform for co-operation between members;
- organising workshops;
- promoting exchange of content between members;
- To host the Media Co-Operation Forum on Belt and Road;
- To organise cross-border joint reporting trips and'
- To set up the Silk Road International News Awards.