How to effectively regulate content on the Internet and manage new media have become major issues for China and other Eurasian countries, the director of the State Council Information Office said on Sunday.
"With the emergence of new media, profound changes are taking place in the traditional ways of spreading information. China's 300 million micro-blogging service users can actively express their opinions on the Internet and enjoy a rich online life," said Cai Mingzhao, director of the State Council Information Office during a forum of Eurasian ministers responsible for information.
"At the same time, we have come to realize that the Internet has also affected social stability to such an extent that it can't be ignored."
Officials in charge of information and media management departments from seven other Eurasian countries, including Russia, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan, participated in the forum, which is part of the third China-Eurasian Expo, held in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, which will be from Monday to Saturday.
"Information on the Internet must be regulated. Russia has also blocked harmful information. Currently, the challenge for us is to set the boundary between harmful and healthy content. Unlike drugs or violent information, it is difficult to categorize some content, which might also pose threats to the public and must be controlled," said Alexey Volin, vice-minister of communications and mass media of Russia.
One of the key responsibilities of the Kazakh government is to protect information security by eliminating illegal content, such as any promoting terrorism, extremism or pornography, said Kyrykbayev Arman, vice-minister of culture and information of Kazakhstan.
Arman said a national information monitoring system has been set up in Kazakhstan. The country also stepped up legislative efforts to curb the spread of illegal information.
"It calls for international and domestic efforts to monitor the telecommunications industry. The basic trend of telecommunications monitoring should be the establishment of compliance with unified standards based on international and national conditions," said Sultan Rayev, minister of culture, information and tourism of Kyrgyzstan.
Cai said he hopes China and other Eurasian countries can work together to set up bilateral and multilateral exchange mechanisms on the Internet, share their experience in Internet utilization and administration, and jointly address challenges brought about by the Internet.
He also urged information departments and media in Eurasia to protect the regional image and interests through cooperation.
"Globally, Western countries are dominating international public opinion as they have more to say and have occupied a favorable position to spread information, while the region we live in remains in a disadvantaged position in the international public opinion environment."
Cai added that many Eurasian countries face arduous tasks in developing their economies, improving people's living standards and maintaining stability.
During those processes, public opinion plays a critical role.
"The way the mass media look at and analyze matters will profoundly influence individual thoughts, social status, a country's economic strength, state-to-state relationships and enforcement of multinational treaties or agreements," said Said Siddigov, deputy chairman of the State Committee of Radio and Television of Tajikistan.
Siddigov said how the media treat current affairs will shape how future generations view this era. The key is to promote unity and report matters that bring different people together, rather than compromising national benefits or alienating people.