Written by China Global Television Network
In a frenzy of press throughout the weekend, delegates of the United Nations Correspondents Association have been continuously covering world news from a variety of angles. Our representative from China Global Television Network (CGTN) sat down with several fellow reporters to explore their approaches to journalism.
One of the most openly slanted news organizations represented is Euronews, whose delegate unapologetically declared, “Euronews promotes universally recognized liberal values.” The delegate expounded to define these liberal values as freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression.
The delegate strayed from describing himself as “leftist” and reiterated that Euronews believes that it upholds universal values. Its journalistic focus throughout the conference, however, has emphasized traditionally leftist ideologies, including the importance of climate change and criticism of the United States on its refugee position.
Several additional outlets have echoed this sentiment, including Africa News, a subsidiary of Euronews. CNBC advocates for a similar moral conviction in their reporting, and has expressed, “Freedom of the press is a universal value, but liberal-leaning institutions are more outspoken in defending it.”
CNBC has also taken strategic steps to distance itself from competitors unrepresented in the Association, disagreeing that “fair and balanced” is a credible journalistic angle. According to the delegation of CNBC, diverse opinions should be fairly represented but not given equal weight in discussing the credibility of each stance. This approach is loosely reflected in the types of sources CNBC utilizes in its reporting. Readers can find one example here.
On the other end of the spectrum, Zee News, a major Indian outlet, acknowledges its right-leaning reputation but disputes the reputation’s legitimacy. CGTN learned from a Zee News reporter that the organization opposes state-run media because it values the private sector as the best watchdog of the government. Further, given their national interests, Zee News has taken a somewhat specialized stance on Indian issues.
Zee News’ conservative reputation does conflict with other state-run outlets in the Press Corps, including RT News, a major Russian outlet. Describing their journalistic approach, RT News argued that despite their state funding, they do not take sides. The delegate explained that they report “from the perspective of the Russian government” and “on global events related to the Russian government or its allies.” This slant is demonstrated in their critique of countries traditionally opposed to Russian policy, such as the United States.
Seemingly at the center of the journalistic spectrum lies BBC, who is state-funded but has distinguished itself from being state-controlled. The delegate representing BBC presented a view somewhat opposing CNBC and explained its responsibility to be fair and balanced: “Since we get all our funding from taxpayers, we need to represent any viewpoint expressed by anyone in the United Kingdom.” The BBC affirms, however, that it delivers news without bias, sharing only facts to inform but not sway the public. The BBC has, unsurprisingly, delivered several articles on traditionally western topics such as the Amazon Board of Directors.
All Press Corps delegates work under the direction of their Association editor Sam Wolf, who has outlined clear goals for the dissemination of news. Wolf explained that the differences between reporters in committee is intentional and valuable. She elaborated, “Collectively, they all represent different opinions and different outlooks that, compiled together, bring not only the best and brightest of journalists but also allow them to be in conversation with each other in a situation in which they might not otherwise be.”
Wolf went on to praise the value of diversity of opinion and hopes that as the journalists are exposed to views different from theirs, their own reporting will be challenged and strengthened--presumably increasing the overall quality of reporting by the United Nations Correspondents Association.
The Association has presently published dozens of articles on committee activities and encourages delegates to practiced an informed consumption of the news.