On October 24, 2020, the author published a column, entitled, Time to Establish a World Media Organization (WMO), (www.US-Chinaforum.org and www.US-Chinaforum.com) proposing that the UN needs to establish a WMO to define rules about public media and to regulate its operation and propagation in the domestic and international community for the benefit of maintaining a peaceful and culturally enriched global community. World media has blossomed tremendously in multimedia since the Chinese first invented the printing and German first created the printer machine; the world media industry has made a quantitative assault of the explosive information revolution on human being, unfortunately coming with many pitfalls and a giant devil being released in the explosion. The author had characterized the problematic media into four categories: 1, rhetoric (between nations and social communities), 2, fake news (openly generating false information), 3, dangerous speech (inciting hate crimes and terrorism) and 4, information security (media collection of private and personal data for illegal use across national boundaries). The author argued that the above concerns (their impact on world peace caused by world media, for example the amount of fake news regarding corona virus and vaccines had led to bad decisions causing thousands of unnecessary deaths) dictate the establishment of a WMO in no less importance than WTO and WHO.
In this article, the author shall plead again to establish a WMO urgently based on recent development of ‘media’ crisis such as the clash of national media organizations (and national government) with the conglomerate cross-nation socio-media platform and services. These incidences and their underlining causes not only reinforces the author’s argument in his previous article for establishing a WMO, but also presented strong evidence in terms of economic instability between the national media and conglomerate media services in their long term interest in serving the national and global communities. The incidence may seem to be simple as the Australian national news media demanding a fee from the social media for their news items based on a national law passed by Australia, but the social media platforms offer their services to users free of charge and would not like to pay a fee if not justified. The two giant conglomerate media companies involved are Facebook social media and Google search engine
It is true that news corporations have cost collecting and producing news articles, hence they like to have some returns for their investment, however, their subscription model simply does not generate sufficient revenue without other supplemental income such as ads (limited scale compared to social media). The giant international news corporations have broader international news sources and audiences but the national news organizations have very little leveraging power compared to the international giants such as Murdock’s News Corp. So there is no surprise that Google has striven a deal to pay News Corp but not likely to pay for Australian news. The value of news is based on two factors: 1. Truthfulness and quality of news and 2. Multiple varieties of sources rather than a monopoly for a wide international audience. Currently, the mass media’s reputation on both is poor which is correlated with their poor subscription income. The giant mass media corporations have shown to be biased and rigidly divided as seen in the U.S. The small national news corporation such as Australia News tends to be nationalistically biased as seen from their reports on Australia-China trade issues. When news are biased and monopolized nationally or internationally (conglomerate), news becomes less valuable to the world community. For example, an Australian fake news on Xinjiang Uighur story will not go very far beyond Australia, certainly not to the 1.4 billion Chinese, so why should Facebook even allows such fake news never mind paying for it.
Similarly with search engines, if the search results are biased and monopolized by any agreement between a search engine company and conglomerate news corporation, global netizens will prefer to get from the organic media; hopefully, social media will maintain that responsibility of supporting only truthful postings and true users' opinions. The news media should be aware of the YouTube (owned by Google) model where users are literally free to post any authentic video news. So the various news corporations must compete with that free media, especially in ‘truthfulness’ and ‘quality’ of their news item. Unfortunately, news media including giant corporations and YouTube have indulged in using fake titles to catch users eyeballs. In reality, this eventually hurts the news media reputation hence the value of their news products. So there is a real need of regulation and code of conduct for the World media Industry (a media morality) for their own survival and true usefulness.
Regarding fake news, there is definitely a need for WMO to regulate the world media industry. The reporting of Corona virus with fake news has caused many death in the world, a matter the UN WHO has no tool to deal with. There are other examples such as false accusation of genocide of Xinjiang Uighur in China or misreporting of the India-China Himalaya border dispute. The sensational media reporting were used to generate higher popularity ratings for the ministers at the expense of economic impact to people even their lives. In Australia’s case, its exports to China were severely affected (China is Australia's number one export country) and the mobilization of tens of thousands of soldiers in Himalaya during winter was inhumane and wasteful (fortunately due to media constraint, China exercised control and war is avoided). If there was an organization like WMO, which was charged for regulating world media on their truthfulness in reporting, I think the behavior of journalists and world journalism will improve. That is the very reason, the author pleads again that we must urge the UN to establish a WMO, for the purposes stated above and hopefully will help the global media industry to prevent global monopoly, political interference and journalism corruption and encourage the world media, big and small corporations, to serve the global community truthfully. Most importantly, perhaps the UN will eventually have a voice power more useful than relying on organizing a UN military forces to deal with crisis or world injustice. After all, no matter what national government system one has, authoritarian, democracy or monarchy, the voice of people matters to the leader or ruler. The authority of WMO equipped with modern communication technology anticipating a direct reach to the world population may become the more effective regulating force to keep the world in peace and harmony than nuclear power.
Ifay Chang. Ph.D., Inventor, Author, TV Game Show Host and Columnist (www.us-chinaforum.org) as well as serving as Trustee, Somers Central School District.