The Belt and Road News Network (BRNN)’s Secretariat issued an open letter to all its alliance members across the world on Wednesday, calling for greater international media coordination and cooperation, and more sharing of reports regarding the coronavirus outbreak to give the public a message of unity and support. 

Under the theme “Together we fight the war against the pandemic, together we build the Silk Road of health,” the letter calls for joint efforts, media responsibility and humanitarianism to achieve final victory against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The battle against COVID-19 is a war for all human beings. The virus respects no borders,” according to the open letter.

“Since the outbreak, China and the countries along the Belt and Road have supported and helped each other. China received support and donations from the international community at the height of the epidemic.

Now other countries are affected and suffering from the virus, China is reaching out, sharing its experience and contributing to global virus prevention and control,” reads the letter.

Published in six languages, the letter points out that no country can face the pandemic alone, and only by joining hands to overcome difficulties and enhance cooperation can we rise above the disease and minimise its damage. The battle against the virus once again shows that countries are invariably linked, sharing weal and woe.

We are all in a community of a shared future. Therefore, it is both imperative and far-sighted to stress the need for peaceful cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning, mutual benefits and win-win results, as advocated by the Belt and Road Initiative. 

“The media play a vital role in this global fight… Apart from damaging health, the virus can also serve as a vehicle for racism and xenophobia and undermine the solidarity of humankind. Victory can only be attained by unity and determination, not division and discrimination caused by smears and stigma.”

BRNN said in the letter that they expect all its members to continue conveying factual and reliable information regarding COVID-19 to its audiences and fight rumours and misinformation. The timely and accurate coverage of the disease, how it develops and how it can be controlled will shape public opinion that favours social unity and a science-based approach.

The alliance urged members to uphold media and moral responsibility and prioritise human health and safety in its reports, highlight selflessness and sacrifice and make reports people and life oriented.

BRNN also advocates that its members tell stories of how countries fight together by looking out for each other and helping each other, and giving a heart-warming message of unity and strength.

“Every cloud has a silver lining. We will eventually win this fight against COVID-19 and heal our world. It is our sincere hope that all countries will soon overcome this crisis.”

The first session of the Council of the BRNN took place on April 23, 2019 at People’s Daily, Beijing. The Council of BRNN is currently composed of 205 members from 98 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Eurasia.

Members of the council cover regions using the official languages of the United Nations, with a broad representation and influence. People’s Daily is the chair of the BRNN, and the secretariat is located at the headquarters of People’s Daily.

The BRNN’s open letter is available on the website of the BRNN here.