About Pak-China Media Friendship Association
By Mahnoor Makhdoom
Some 7 decades back, when Pakistan and China were signing the papers to establish formal diplomatic relations, the media, not only in these countries, but also all over the world was, by no means, as fast and as strong tool of information as it is today. With the passage of time, media continued to flourish and attain more and more mature status in both the countries. There is no doubt that Pakistani and Chinese media, both had been playing some role in bringing the people of the two nations closer, yet there was always an acute need of a better and stronger interaction amongst the media personnel from both the countries. Though Chinese publications like China Pictorial (Cheen Baa Tassveer) did come as effective periodicals to bring knowledge about people of China to the people of Pakistan but the need of enhanced media endeavors for enhancing people to people contact continued to increase with rapidly growing importance of media. Today there are hundreds of newspapers and magazines in Pakistan and the number is far higher in China. Similarly there has been a mushroom growth of electronic media organizations in both the countries, owing to the wonderful media policies adopted by Islamabad and Beijing. Nevertheless, this media development enhanced the onus of the media in both the countries to play more effective and larger role for the promotion of bilateral ties and for the promotion and protection of the Pak-China Friendship. Media personnel from both the countries have been visiting Pakistan and China as part of official delegations, yet there was no pure professional interaction amongst them at the organizational level. It was only in year 2005 when Mr. Makhdoom Babar, President and Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Mail came up with a new vision for the promotion of media relations between Pakistan and China. To materialize his vision and ideas for serving the cause of Pak-China Friendship through joint media endeavors, Mr. Makhdoom came up with different strategies to form a professional collaboration between Chinese and Pakistani journalists and media organizations. First step in this regard was initiated when The Daily Mail signed a breakthrough accord of professional collaboration with China’s top ranking English Daily, China Daily in 2005. This was just the first step in the direction of forging a composite professional collaboration amongst Pakistani and Chinese media. Soon after the signing of the agreement with China Daily, The Daily Mail introduced a new segment in it’s daily publications by dedicating one full page to news about China everyday and the same is still in practice with a goal of increasing it to two and ultimately to four pages every day. Getting encouraged by the experiment of collaboration with China Daily, President and Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Mail took another initiative and formed Pakistan-China Media Friend-ship Association the same year. Pak-China Media Friend-ship Association is a body, formed with the aim to pro-vide journalists of both countries with frequent opportunities to have professional interactions and both formal and informal meetings and other activities. Soon after its inception, the Association gained an immense response from the journalists of both the countries with a rapidly increasing number of members. Today, the number of registered members of Pak-China Media friendship Association from both the countries is over 250. As Chairman of Pak-China Media Friendship Association, President of The Daily Mail held Association’s first function at Beijing in February 2006 with the then Ambassador of Pakistan to China; His Excellency Mr. Salman Bashir as the Chief Guest. This was the first ever function of its kind as before this, no media organization could organize such an event in either country. During the ceremony, certificates of excellence were distributed amongst the Chinese journalists and members of the association in recognition of their respective professional achievements and for their services to the cause of promotion of Pak-China Friendship as well for maintaining of high standards of professionalism. A simple yet impressive ceremony for the same purpose was also held at Shanghai during the same period while a function for the same purpose is scheduled to be held at Islamabad soon. In the next phase, The Daily Mail signed an agreement of professional collaboration with China’s number one Chinese language newspaper People’s Daily. This agreement also covers the exchange of personnel from both the organizations under a joint study programme for enhancing the professional capabilities of the journalists from both the countries and also with aim of providing them with ample opportunities for learning more and more about socio-economic and geo-political as well cultural scenarios of each other’s country. Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Makhdoom vowed to take Pak-China, time tested and all-weather friendship to new horizons through improvised media endeavors. He also stressed on the need for joint efforts by Pakistani and Chinese journalists and media organizations for the promotion and protection of Pak-China ties and for enhancing the people to people contacts amongst the peoples of both the countries. Later during a meeting with Vice President of People’s Daily, Mr. Makhdoom offered to publish and circulate four pages of People’s Daily’s overseas edition in Pakistan. The offer was warmly welcomed and accepted and soon a small edition of People’s Daily would be published and circulated along with The Daily Mail throughout Pakistan. A similar agreement was signed with China’s leading and most trusted English language weekly Beijing Review. The Daily Mail extended the same offer of publishing and circulating Beijing Review along with The Daily Mail on monthly basis, which was again welcomed and accepted. After the signing of the agreement, Mr. Makhdoom was also invited to deliver a lecture to the Editorial staff of Beijing Review over the topic of ‘Role of Media for peace and development and challenges of contemporary scenarios’. President of The Daily Mail, during his lecture, threw light on the importance of national interests and the difference between national interests and professional interests and also elaborated the interpretations of sensational journalism and substantial journalism. A meeting was also held between President of The Daily Mail and President of leading Chinese magazine China’s Talents Professor Wang Xiaopeng. Both discussed a host of issues of bilateral professional interests and agreed on a number of joint ventures, including the signing of agreements of professional collaboration and exchange of personnel. Professor Wang and Mr. Makhdoom also agreed on joint selection of talented people from both the countries and to honour them jointly every year. The President of The Daily Mail also held detailed discussions with the officials of China Radio International (CRI) over past many years and finally both sides signed an MoU which later was transformed into an agreement of professional collaboration between the two organizations. The Daily Mail and CRI (Urdu) also agreed on holding of joint quiz programmes and other competitions for the promotion of Pak-China Friendship. The Daily Mail Chief also gave interview to various Chinese print and electronic media organizations and stressed the need for forging immense professional unity amongst Pakistani and Chinese media organizations and individual professionals for the promotion of Pak-China Friendship and for the mutual and bilateral interests of the two countries. The Daily Mail’s President and Chairman of Pak-China Media Friendship Association Mr. Makhdoom Babar also held detailed parleys with officials of All-China Journalists’ Association, a body, having over 7,50,000 Chinese journalists as it’s registered members. Officials of All-China Journalists’ Association have welcomed the formation of a joint exchange programme through Pak-China Media Friendship Association. The then Director General of All-China Journalists’ Association Mr. Zhu Yinghua informed Mr. Makhdoom that there had been a lot of media exchanges between China and Pakistan from the platform of All-China Journalists’ Association but this exchange programme was in a state of disruption for about past 30 years. He expressed the desire of resuming the programme of exchange of media delegations between Pakistan and China in collaboration with Pak-China Media Friendship Association. Chairman of Pak-China Media Friendship Association straight-away welcomed the idea and both parties agreed on the same. A formal agreement in this regard is likely to be signed soon that would smoothly enable journalists from both countries to put in joint efforts for the promotion of CPEC, Belt & Road Initiative and People to People contacts. Today is the world of media and it is full of a variety of challenges. However, through the media endeavors that The Daily Mail and Pak-China Media Friendship Association initiated in 2005 proved that the journalists of both Pakistan and China are quite effectively preparing and gearing up to meet all such challenges. Through such efforts and initiatives, journalists from both the countries are getting poised to do for the promotion of CPEC, Pak-China Friendship, Belt & Road Initiative etc and to meet the prevailing global challenges. It can be said that these endeavors are sort of gifts to the people and particularly the journalists of both the countries by The Daily Mail on the event of commemoration of a new era of Pakistan-China friendship; under the visionary leaderships at both Islamabad & Beijing.
Despite organizing a number of activities for Islamabad-based Chinese journalists that enabled Chinese media persons not only to interact with Pakistani counterparts but also to know more about people of Pakistan and socio-cultural life of this country, the Association also organize many such activities in different parts of China under the Association’s programmes so far Joint Special Editions of The Daily Mail and People’s Daily over CPEC and BRI while by The Daily Mail and China Daily over Pak-China Relations have been published whereas many such Joint Ventures are in the pipeline.
Pak-China Media Friendship Association emerged as the first ever International Media Body to organize the maiden Media Seminar on CPEC, Belt and Road Initiative back in March 2015 in which participants from different walks of life participated and expressed their views and suggestions in this direction while Ambassador of The People’s Republic of China His Excellency Mr. Sun Weidong graced the occasion with his Keynote Address.
The Association is also in process of not only organizing more such Seminars but is also making efforts to arrange MoUs between more Pakistani Media Organizations with Chinese counterparts whereas the efforts are also in full swing to bring Chinese Showbiz material including Dramas, Movies, Documentaries, Cartoons etc with Urdu dubbing in Pakistan and taking similar Pakistani Productions to China with aim to have co-production arrangements.
Through Pak-China Media Friendship Association’s efforts, the friendship that is known as the all-weather, time-tested, stronger than mountains, deeper than oceans and harder than iron now also stands reported more responsibly and accurately than ever.
Following are our partner Media Organizations from China in this endeavor of promoting relations, peace and development through shared perceptions and joint efforts.