Forum of heads of BRICS countries’ leading media outlets "Towards Creating a Common Information Space for the BRICS Countries"

Sergei Ryabkov: Creating a common BRICS media space is a task of immediate interest

Forum of heads of BRICS countries’ leading media outlets "Towards Creating a Common Information Space for the BRICS Countries"

Russian BRICS Sherpa Sergei Ryabkov’s greetings to the forum of the heads of the BRICS countries’ leading media outlets.



Ladies and gentlemen,

Speaking on behalf of Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov and the Foreign Ministry officials charged with BRICS and information issues, I sincerely and wholeheartedly welcome you to this very important forum, the first of its kind, and wish you success in your work, your life and all your creative endeavours.

The media has a hugely important role to play in modern society. We are a digital civilisation where the media has a strong influence on public opinion, and I could speak endlessly about the role of the digital and print media. But the theme of this meeting allows me to focus on a few aspects of crucial significance for BRICS' positioning in the world and for creating a fairer and better balanced picture of the world through media support.

We may be bureaucrats, but we share the general view that the media has grown into a fourth estate over the past years or decades. No government, political force or country can effectively achieve its goals without appropriate interaction with the media. With an awareness of this, our preparations for Russia's BRICS presidency in 2015-2016 were based on the belief that the media should be accorded a proper place among the BRICS priorities. I'd like to remind you that a separate chapter in the Concept of Russia's Presidency in BRICS in 2015-2016, which President Vladimir Putin has approved, is devoted to awareness-raising.

Our goal is to promote comprehensive and objective coverage of the BRICS activities in order to ensure it is appropriately perceived by those who are interested in foreign policy, the development of the multipolar world and fairer and more democratic international relations. A common information space of the BRICS countries is a vital objective. We have taken a number of practical steps towards this. You know that during the July summit in Ufa the BRICS foreign ministers signed a memorandum of understanding on developing the BRICS website as a virtual secretariat.

Today we and our colleagues from all countries of the association are completing the adjustment of the website and hope that the virtual secretariat will be working full scale in the next few months. The bulk of official documents and other materials on all areas of the association's activities will be published on this website. There is no shortage of content. We are confident that this website will enjoy much popularity. It probably will not be visited as often as the Rossiya Segodnya website, but we will strive for this. We will use the online potential to inform the broad audience of the BRICS countries about the measures taken by the Russian leaders to promote cooperation in the association. Naturally, information on contacts and events at all levels, and the major documents adopted as a result, are published on the websites of the Russian President, the Foreign Ministry and other Russian departments and non-governmental agencies.

During its BRICS Presidency, Russia is paying much attention to the preparation of information and analytical materials on BRICS. A special issue of the magazine "International Affairs" devoted to the association was published on the eve of the Ufa summit. I'd like to advise all those present to read it.

I'd like to use this opportunity to thank Rosstat (the Russian Federal State Statistics Service) for publishing a collection of articles in English and Russian on various aspects of the BRICS performance. This is an important contribution to the publications on this subject. In part, these articles comment on the assertions of some media that BRICS has lost its dynamics, that the economic difficulties of some of its members are long-term and that this is why for their relations are cracking.

Through facts and statistics, we can show that such difficulties have occurred in the past and they are certainly surmountable. Rising economies retain their internal dynamics, which will increasingly determine the global economy.

We are grateful to the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency for its very substantial contribution to covering Russia's Presidency in BRICS. Its employees are taking a direct part in publishing information on the website of Russia's BRICS Presidency. We highly evaluate the work of Rossiya Segodnya's editorial service and correspondents during all of our events, including the Ufa summit.

We appreciate the news reported by Rossiya Segodnya journalists for the BRICS summit in Ufa and the recent meeting of the BRICS foreign ministers on the sidelines of the anniversary UN General Assembly session in New York.

I'd like to say a few words about the issue of shaping and consolidating the common information space of the BRICS countries, which I've already touched upon. During the Ufa summit Russia suggested organising a free exchange of videos between the news channels of the BRICS countries on the basis of the Ruptley global video agency, created by the Russia Today TV Channel, which provides video materials for television channels around the world. There was also a proposal to create a BRICS radio network for broadcasting to the BRICS countries.

Considering the consolidation of BRICS' role in world affairs, the implementation of these ideas could become a major step towards increasing befittingly the association's participation in a global information exchange.

Representatives of our academic circles and civil society are also interested in promoting BRICS cooperation in the field of information. This issue was reflected in the plan of action following the first BRICS Youth Summit, which took place last July. It will also be discussed at the international conference of the National Committee on BRICS Research "Approach to the regulation of common spaces: Areas and potential of cooperation," which will be held in Moscow in late October.

I'd like to say a few words about major events that are scheduled before the completion of Russia's Presidency in BRICS. The main event coming up is an informal meeting of the BRICS leaders on the sidelines of the G20 Antalya summit on 15-16 November. In addition, another 13 ministerial and 15 expert meetings will be held. Some of them will introduce new cooperation formats, including meetings of communications, industry, labour and employment ministers, and heads of migration departments. Incidentally, one such meeting is taking place in Sochi today, organised by the Russian Federal Migration Service. The plan also provides for a meeting of senior officials that are supervising efforts to promote international cooperation.

We hope that the leading media outlets of the BRICS countries will continue taking a direct part in large-scale and detailed coverage of the association's performance so that our people and the foreign audience (which is no less important) can learn more about the BRICS activities. Let me wish fruitful discussions and all the best to the participants once again. Thank you.