Persisting in the Principle of Giving First Place to Positive Propaganda

Li Ruihuan

(25 November 1989)

The news work conference organized by the Central Propaganda Department is very good. Everyone earnestly studied the spirit of the 5th Plenum of the 13th Party Congress, launched discussions revolving around how to improve news work, have raised understanding of a number of important questions and have unified thoughts. This conference will inevitably give rise to a vigorous influence on the development of our country’s news undertaking.

Our party and country are at an extremely important moment. Since the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, we have taken economic construction as central, persisted in the Four Cardinal Principles, persisted in reform and opening up, and the achievements are very large. Since the 4th Plenum of the 13th Party Congress, the central leaders with Comrade Jiang Zemin at the core have collectively adopted a series of resolute measures, the situation nationwide is stabilizing day by day, progress is present in all works matters, and the confidence of the people of the entire country has been obtained. But, many problems and difficulties exist in the advance of our country’s economy as well. The 5th Plenum of the 13th Party Congress has correctly analysed the situation, and decided to take three years or more to basically complete the task of improvement and rectification, realize sustained, stable and coordinated economic development. Resolving the questions that have accumulated over many years requires having a process, implementing “double grasping” policies over finance and credit, conducting economic structural adjustment, and may also bring a number of new difficulties. Especially after curbing the turmoil and putting down the counterrevolutionary riot, a lot of work must still be done in deeply resolving a number of issues of ideological understanding. A number of Western countries’ “sanctions” against our country’s economy still persist. In recent months, upheaval and changes have occurred in a number of Eastern European countries’ regimes, which also requires us to handle matters soberly. Generally speaking, there are not a few problems. We must both be full of confidence, and may not lower our guard. Stability overwhelms everything at present. We must conduct efforts on many sides, fully give rein to our political superiority, stabilize the economy, stabilize politics and stabilize society, and at the same time as consolidating the gains from reform and opening up, realize the objective of improvement and rectification. Completing this task, although it cannot be said that this mainly relies on news and propaganda, truly requires the close coordination of news and propaganda. How news and propaganda can do their work better according to the spirit of the Centre, achieve that they benefit stability and benefit enthusiasm, can only help, and cannot bring trouble, truly is a large question that merits attention and research.

At present, there are many problems that need to be researched and resolved to improve news work. Regardless of whether it concerns the general significance of news work, or it concerns the real situation in all aspects at present, or whether it concerns this larger picture that stability overwhelms everything, the key problem is that news reports must persist in the principle of giving first place to positive propaganda. I believe that this is one extremely important guiding principle that Socialist news undertakings must observe. Persisting in this principle means correctly and timely propagating the Party line, principles and policies, reflecting the mainstream of real social life in a way that seeks truth from facts, letting the popular masses use the outstanding achievement of creating a new life to educate themselves to shape large spiritual forces inspiring the people to advance, and at present, this is a public opinion environment that will create a beneficial and stable picture. Next, I’d like to talk about a few viewpoints and opinions on this problem as well as problems related to it, in order to ask the present experts for advice.

I, Earnestly summarizing historical experiences

Looking back at the development history of our Party’s news undertaking, we can derive at least two clear conclusions: first, out Party has given high attention to news work throughout; second, it has persisted in mainly positive propaganda of the people’s revolution and the socialist undertaking.

Many elder-generation revolutionaries in our party, from the period of founding the Party up to after the national revolutionary victory, not only initiated a batch of newspapers and periodicals propagating revolutionary truths by themselves, but also set about writing commentaries and writing reports by themselves. In the early years, Comrade Mao Zedong organized the “Xiangjiang Commentary” and the “Political Weekly”, and afterwards led the establishment of the “Liberation Daily” in Yan’an, Comrade Zhou Enlai led the work of the “New China Daily” in Chongqing himself during the period of the War to Resist Japan, this is all very well known to everyone. The “Talks with the Editorial Staff of the Jinsui Daily” of Comrade Mao Zedong and the “Talks with the North China Journalist Team” of Comrade Liu Shaoqi, expounded the nature and tasks of the Party’s news work from the Marxist viewpoint, and until today, they are required reading for our country’s news workers. The “Report from the News Work Conference in the Southwest” that Comrade Deng Xiaoping made, stressed that “taking up a pen is the main method for implementing leadership”, “publishing newspapers, setting up radio, publishing periodicals and pamphlets” “are more effective than other methods in implementing the present intentions of the leadership, and more broad, their function is larger by far”; pointing out the three conditions that organizing newspapers well must be integrated with reality, connected to the masses and critical and self-critical, as well as that it requires everyone to set up newspapers, etc. These opinions still have an extremely important significance for improving news work in the present day. After smashing the “Gang of Four”, Comrade Xiaoping supported newspapers and periodicals to launch discussion on the criterion of truth, which revived and developed the Party’s ideological line of seeking truth from facts, and established an ideological and theoretical basis for formulating and implementing the lime, principles and policies of the Party since the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress. In short, the concern and regard of the Party Centre, precisely has been the basic guarantee our Party’s news undertakings have grown out of nothing, to incessantly develop and expand.

Talking about the development of the news battle line itself, whether or not the principle of giving first place to positive propaganda is correctly and completely understood and implemented, directly affects giving rein to the function of public opinion, and also directly affects success or failure of the Socialist news undertaking. Generally speaking, during times during which the public opinion function of news was given rein relatively well, were also time in which this principle was implemented relatively well; the reverse is also true. In the Fifties, propaganda concerning the thirty years of grand, glorious and correct history of the Chinese Communist Party, the patriotism of resisting America and aiding Korea, protecting the home and defending the country, propaganda concerning Huang Jiguang, Qiu Shaoyun and other battle heroes and propaganda concerning Meng Tai, Ma Henchang, Li Shunda, Hao Jianxiu, Wang Chonglun and other model workers, as well as propaganda concerning the large-scale and planned Socialist economic construction; in the Sixties, propaganda concerning maintaining independence, self-reliance, and high and low overcoming temporary difficulties with one heart, propaganda concerning the history of the undertaking of the Daqing oilfields, the “iron man” Wang Jinxi, the Lei Feng spirit and the deeds of Jiao Yulu; since the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, the propaganda on bringing order out of chaos, economic construction and reform and opening up, all of these, have given rein to a huge inspirational function for the people of our country, and have given rein to a vigorous promoting function for our country’s Socialist construction undertaking. In the process of persisting in this correct direction, also a batch of news workers with relatively high renown and who are deeply trusted by the Party and the people have been trained and fostered as well. During the period of the “Cultural Revolution”, the overall mistake of “leftism” caused news undertakings to meet with grave disturbances and devastation. Tat sort of “false, large and empty” so-called “positive propaganda” caused news to lose its credit with the popular masses, that sort of propaganda exposing “capitalist roaders” smeared black all over the Party and the revolution. This bitter historical lesson, we may never forget.

Looking at the situation of this year, it may be said that our news battle line both has successful experiences, and also has lessons from failure. During the disturbances at the end of this year’s spring, a small number of comrades in the news sector have deviated from the standpoint of the Party and the people, and almost arrived in a state of confusing right and wrong, and not being able to tell friend from foe. Some newspapers gave rise to a function of adding fuel to the flames of the turmoil and the counterrevolutionary riot in Beijing. It may be said that the lessons from that period for news work are extremely deep. After the 4th Plenum, because the Centre and the localities adopted a series of major and large measures, heartening changes occurred in the overall news battle line. In exposing the truths of the counterrevolutionary riots, opposing bourgeois liberalization, propagating the huge achievements of the forty years since founding the nation, propagating the deeds of advanced model personalities, propagating the construction of clean government, propagating the strengthening and improving of ideological and political work, as well as launching the “Sweeping Pornography” struggle and other aspects, the comrades from the news world have done large amounts of work, and achieved very good results, news public opinion has given rise to a very good stimulating function in stabilizing the larger picture. The propaganda of news public opinion organs of the Centre and the localities (including newspapers, news agencies, television station, radio stations) concerning the achievements of the forty years since founding the nation have been done vividly and dramatically, television programmes such as “In a Flash”, etc., received even more favourable opinions from up and down the county. It may be said that the achievements of news work during this period are extremely notable. Generally speaking, historical experiences prove that news work must persist in and refuse to deviate from the principle of giving first place to the positive side.

II, Strengthening the Party nature of news and propaganda

The Party nature of Socialist news and propaganda, generally speaking, is expressed in the class nature of the proletariat and the revolutionary and scientific nature of Marxism. This is the symbol differentiating it from the news and propaganda of the capitalist class. We say that newspapers are the ears, eyes and mouthpieces of the Party, the government and the people, this is a sort of clear, visual and scientific expression of the Party nature of news work. Its main content is: openly stating that one speaks from the standpoint of the Party and the people, maintaining consistency with the Party Centre politically; persisting in seeking truth from facts, speaking the truth, and not speaking falsehoods, closely linking to the popular masses, sincerely breathing together, sharing joys and sorrows, and loving and hating together with the people, correctly reflecting their desires, cries and requirements; submitting to the leadership of the Party, observing propaganda discipline.

Persisting in the Party nature of news and propaganda, means that it is necessary to propagate the truth while showing one’s colours, propagate things of progress, promise, advance and vigour in actual life, resisting and criticising reactionary, dark, backward and negative things. The Party’s basic line must be correctly and unremittingly propagated to the broad masses, the construction of the theory of Socialism with Chinese characteristics must be propagated, the Party and government policies, principles, laws and regulations must be propagated. News reports must stress social effect, and have social interest as the highest norm. In newspaper, periodical, radio and television propaganda, it is absolutely not  permitted to publish views violating the Constitution and laws, it is absolutely not permitted to express reports and speech slandering or denying the Party’s leadership and the Socialist system, it is absolutely not permitted to disseminate erroneous public opinion, wavering the people’s faith in Socialism, it is absolutely not permitted to use spiritual opium to poison the people’s spirits. The stability of society cannot be influenced because of mistakes in news reporting.

Our news undertaking is the news undertaking of the Party, is the news undertaking of Socialist countries, the Party nature of news is the same as the people’s nature of news, the two are united. Our Party’s purpose is to serve the people with heart and soul, and apart from the People’s interest, the Party has no private interest of its own. The Party is the most concentrated representative for the people’s interest. Because of this, the eyes, ears and mouthpiece of the Party naturally are the eyes, ears and mouthpiece of the people. News work’s responsibility towards the Party and responsibility towards the people is completely  identical. In the previous few years, there have been controversies of the Party nature with the people’s nature, some people advocated that the people’s nature is higher than the Party nature, that newspapers should march with the people, and shouldn’t march with the Party. This sort of viewpoint that opposes the people’s nature with the Party nature is fundamentally wrong, and is extremely harmful. In the turmoil and counterrevolutionary riots that happened at the end of this year’s spring, an extremely small number of people from the news world, under the cover of the “people’s nature”, made rival claims to the party, stirred up trouble, and produced a very bad effect, which both damaged the undertaking of the Party, and also damaged the undertaking of the people. Comrades working at the news battle line shall be alert towards these lessons paid in blood.

Since we acknowledge and persist in the Party nature of news and propaganda in theory and in practice, upholding the principle of giving first place to positive propaganda in news and reporting is a required rationale. What we call “positive”, and call “giving first place”, means that we must strive to propagate and report things that inspire and stimulate people to develop social productive forces, things that inspire and stimulate people to persist in the Four Basic Principles and persist in reform and opening up, things that inspire and stimulate people to strengthen Socialist democracy and legal system construction, things that inspire and stimulate people to move the construction of a Socialist spiritual civilization forward, things that inspire and stimulate the people to ardently accept the great motherland and carry forward the culture of the nation, things that inspire and stimulate the people to safeguard national unity and the unity of the nations, and things that inspire and stimulate the people to struggle to promote world peace and development. In general, all news and public opinion inspiring and stimulating the people to struggle for the prosperity of the country, the happiness of the people and the progress of society are what we call positive, and these shall all be reported with great effort.

III, Eulogizing the achievements of the heroes of the people

Lenin once said that Socialism full of creativity is created by the popular masses themselves. Our Party’s leading the people to construct Socialism with Chinese characteristics, regardless which complications or mistakes this undertaking may undergo from time to time, but fundamentally speaking, and speaking from a long process, this undertaking undoubtedly is the most majestic and greatest undertaking of our country in history. The mainstream of history created by the popular masses is always healthy, the light side always occupies the dominant position. Regardless of whether it is the undertaking itself or the popular masses throwing themselves into this undertaking, all of this merits eulogy. This is the basic viewpoint of dialectical materialism and historical materialism. Persisting in policy of giving first place to positive propaganda, propagates the heroic majesty of the popular masses creating history, creating society and constructing a new life, with justice on its side, propagates the historical truth of the incessant progress of Socialism in China, and is the historical responsibility to which news workers are duty bound.

The popular masses themselves educate themselves, this is one of the basic methods for promoting historical development. During the process of creating history, the popular masses always discover something, invent something, create something, or advance in something. Strengthening propaganda of the positive side uses the heroic achievements created by the popular masses themselves to educate the people, and is the most persuasive, and the most able to inspire people’s hearts. This is in fact a successful experience of ours. In the last ten years, our news organs have also reported not a little of the achievements, experiences and advanced personalities of the “Four Modernizations” construction and reform and opening up, but generally speaking, this was not sufficiently abundant, could not follow the pace of progress of the time, and a sort of social and public opinion environment that inspires the mind, of arduousness and pioneering, of exertion to make the country prosperous and unselfish contribution has not yet been formed. It should be said that this is a sort of the reflection of Comrade Deng Xiaoping’s pointing out the weaknesses in ideological and political work in these years, this greatest mistake in new work that education of working hard in spite of difficulties was not conducted enough. The reason why we stress persisting in the principle of giving first place to positive propaganda, is in order to change this sort of situation. Now that we come across temporary difficulties, and a moment in which not a few comrades’ faith is not enough, persisting in this principle is especially necessary.

The principle of giving first place to positive propaganda, uses the heroic achievements created by the people themselves to educate the people, and is essentially also a sort of important method for our Party to exercise leadership. Because there is always a part of the popular masses in this process of creating history that marches at the head, the work methods of relatively high labour productivity and advance they created, the noble spiritual outlook that they express in this process of creating history, and their moral bearing, undoubtedly has an extremely large model and guiding function. The responsibility of leaders lies in summarizing and popularizing their experiences and deeds, letting their advanced experiences and advanced ideology progressive become common wealth of the entire society. Where a leader is concerned, this is an important channel to raise their own leadership levels.

IV, Stressing the guiding function of public opinion

News public opinion has a rapid, broad and deep leading function over people’s thoughts and actions. People often say, newspapers are the “artillery with the longest firing range”. Especially at present, following the progress of science and technology, the improvement in the popular masses’ material life conditions and the rise in cultural levels, watching television, listening to the radio and reading newspapers have become important component parts of the people’s daily life. News public opinion influences people’s thoughts and actions at all times and in all places. One news message may incite the people to forge ahead, but may also confuse public opinion, and slackening people’s hearts. It must also be recognized that, following the deepening of reform and opening up, large masses of foreign and outside journalists engaged in newsgathering, all sorts of foreign and outside voices also were speedily transmitted through many kinds of channels, among these, there were many newspapers that either because of the political leaning of the writers, or because of intentional misrepresentation, frequently created erroneous public opinion influence. Using public opinion to confuse and poison people’s minds, conduct subversion and incitation, has become an important method of hostile forces to engage in peaceful evolution strategies. Because of this, correctly giving rein to the leading function of news public opinion in contemporary social life, is a requirement for both correctly guiding the popular masses, and for opposing the reactionary propaganda of hostile forces. We must have new and sufficient understandings of this.

Only when news reports persist in the policy of giving first place to positive propaganda can they correctly and fully give rein to the function of leading social public opinion, and can they assist in the stability of the larger picture and the resolution of all sorts of social problem. The Party’s principles and policies are the concentrated reflection of the immediate interests and long-term interests of the popular masses, sectional interests and the overall interests, news guides social public opinion, and must persist in using the Party’s policy positions to guide the masses, and change the policies of the Parties into conscious actions of the masses. The line, principles and policies since the 3rd Plenum of the 111th Party Congress have been proven correct in practice, completely and correctly propagating “one centre, two basic points”, and achieving impartiality, is an important question in news public opinion work from beginning to end. Propaganda relating to the Party and State principles and policies must preserve stability and continuity, and it must be prevented to improperly influence economic stability or social stability because of propaganda. Concerning engaging in small-scale trials, a cautious attitude must be taken in propaganda, it is not permitted to openly propagate things conflicting with existing policies, preventing ideological confusion of cadres and masses.

News guides public opinion, and must pay attention to prevent one-sidedness. What news and propaganda advocate, or what they oppose, their colours must be clear, “storms” must be prevented when concretely grasping matters. When we propagate some work matter, we must talk clearly about the concrete situation and political limits; when we praise advanced persons or advanced experiences, we must talk clearly about different conditions, and allow for unforeseen circumstances; when we advocate some method or way, we may not  belittle different kinds of feasible methods or ways; when stressing the propaganda on this side, we must also carry out suitable reporting of the other side that is permitted to exists; when social public opinion is overly concentrated on some “hot topic” problems, we must pay attention to suitably divide the steam. Resolving these problems well, must rely on journalists having high levels of responsibility and political sensitivity, and must rely even more on the editor-in-chief’s grasping of the overall picture, and comprehensive arrangement. News and propaganda leading organs must also be guided timely from the macro-level.

Persisting in the Four Cardinal Principles, and opposing bourgeois liberalization are long-term and important tasks at the news battle line. Our strengthening the principle of giving first place to positive propaganda, is an urgent need and real move in realizing this task. An extremely small number of people obstinately persist in bourgeois liberalization, deny the Four Cardinal Principles, and their habitual practice in news reports are to exaggerate and play up negative phenomena in our society and the dark side of things. The reason these people want to set up newspapers and radio stations with the same convictions that enthusiastically, and why they preach so-called “news freedom” so fanatically, is nothing other than to view with us for the Socialist public opinion battleground, in order to unscrupulously “expose” the “corruption” of the Communist Party and the “defeat” of Socialism. This is a crucial point of bourgeois liberalization in the news area. The reason why we must persist in the principle of giving first place to positive propaganda, and propagate the necessity of Communist Party leadership and the superiority of the Socialist system on such a large scale, and propagate the correct leadership of the Party and the real achievements of Socialism, is to be diametrically opposed to bourgeois liberalization. The more vividly and the more richly correct propaganda is carried out, the more powerful the resistance, exposure and counterattack to ideological trends of liberalization will be.

V, Giving high regard to and improving critical newspapers

Persisting in the principle of giving first place to positive propaganda does not mean that critical reporting is prohibited. Giving high regard to and improving critical reporting is similarly decided by the principles of the Socialist nature and the Party nature of the news undertaking. Criticism and self-criticism, including news criticism, are one of the important talismans of our Party’s construction, and is a powerful weapon for our Party to overcome the sneak attacks of negative ideologies and to maintain a healthy organizing. Exactly because of this, our Party has given high regard to launching criticism in newspapers and periodicals throughout its history. As far back as the first period of founding the nation, the Centre specially made the “Decision concerning Launching Criticism and Self-Criticism in Newspapers and Periodicals” aimed at the new situation that our Party’s being in the position of holding power “easily engenders arrogant emotions of refusing criticism and suppressing criticism inside and outside of the Party. On 15 July 1954, the “CCP Central Committee Resolution concerning Improving Newspaper Work” again further clarified provisions: “whether or not newspapers fully launch criticism, whether or not criticism is correct and wither or not cadres enthusiastically welcome and persist in protecting the criticism of workers and the people from top to bottom, are measurements to weigh the Party nature of newspapers, and to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of intra-Party democratic life and Party Committee leadership.” After the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, aimed at the situation that this Party tradition had met with grave destruction during the “Cultural Revolution”, it was again reiterated on 29 January 1981 in the “CCP Central Committee Decision concerning Present Newspaper and Periodical News Dissemination and Propaganda Principles” that” “all levels’ Party Committees must be good at utilizing newspapers and periodicals to launch criticism and promote work”. Launching criticism is a requirement for our Party’s leadership undertaking and self-construction, and is an expression of our Party’s self-confidence and strength. Because of this, the question with critical reporting is not a question of prohibition, but is a question of how to persist in and improve it.

Whether or not newspapers, news agencies, radio and television have serious and conscientious criticism, relates to the image of news organs and the effects of news and propaganda. News reporting regularly having a bit of serious and conscientious criticism, advocating something or opposing something, with a clear attitude, may appear as anger or militancy. The aspirations, opinions and requirements of the masses have been reflected, their mood is happy, and their vigour surges. When the emotions of the basses can be mediated through proper channels, it is unlikely to end up in a “total eruption”, and conducive to overall social stability. Conversely, if there is not a bit of criticism, newspaper reporting may appear dull, inflexible, lacking in anger, and lacking in militancy. The key here rests in correctly handling the relationship between positive propaganda and critical reporting well, and handling the relationship between extolling and exposure well. News must both extol grand achievements, and must also launch criticisms against problems that exist; it must both eulogize the magnificent feats of the times, and must also expose negative and evil phenomena. Naturally, positive propaganda must stand on the dominant position, critical and exposing reporting can only occupy a secondary position, and must fully stress grasping proper restraint. When critical things are too many or too concentrated, lengthy and tedious, the effect may not be good. Our critical reporting is not criticism for criticism’s sake, is not for the sake of displaying and playing up backward phenomena, but is for the sake of improving work, resolving problems and strengthening the faith of the people going forward. Critical reporting must have an outcome, have real effects, fully display the determination and strength of the Party and the people to overcome negative images, thereby further uniting, encouraging and inspiring the people, to struggle and strive  for the magnificent objective of realizing the construction of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Regardless of whether it is praise or criticism, in the end, it must give the people strength, give people confidence, give people courage and give people hope. If negative things are handled appropriately, they may also have a positive function. This is the objective we pursue.

Looking from the present real situation of critical reporting, there are both problems that news work units aren’t very good at criticism, and problems that there are criticizers, including a number of leading organs and leading cadres that aren’t used to not adapt to criticism. Some departments and work units being criticized believe that “dirty linen should not be washed in public”, and consequently intercede everywhere, or set up obstructions, making it difficult for healthy critical reporting to be properly conducted. This sort of situation shall progressively be changed through efforts from all sides. Speaking from news work units, expressing critical reporting must stand on the viewpoint of the Party and people, and with an enthusiastic attitude of resolving problems, select model cases that have a wide educational significance and representativeness. Not only the rationality of problems must be stressed, but the possibility of resolving problems must also be stressed. At the same time, the facts in critical reporting must be absolutely correct, and analysis of problems must be objective. For all critical reporting involving major problems, the relevant higher-level controlling department must be contacted, the opinion of the criticized side heard, and the facts examined. When central news work unit involve localities in critical reporting, they must keep local Party and government leading organs informed, consult with them, and respect their opinions. News workers may not put themselves in the position of “deciding judge”. Mistakes appearing in critical reporting should be openly corrected. Talking from the criticized side, especially when this is a leading cadre or leading organ, they must fully understand and vigorously report criticism coming from news work units, strengthen their adaptation capacity concerning news criticism, consciously pick up the weapon of criticism, rely on the force of public opinion, carry correct tendencies forward, attack evil tendencies and promote work.

VI, Correctly implementing public opinion supervision

Persisting in the principle of giving first place to positive propaganda and correctly implementing public opinion supervision are the same thing. The supervision of news public opinion is essentially the supervision of the people, it is the popular masses conducting supervision through news tools over Party and government work and their work personnel, it is the supervision of the Party and the people through news tools over society, it should not only be seen as news workers’ individual or news work units’ supervision. Public opinion supervision includes critical reporting, but is not simply equal to critical reporting, it has become a sort of effective form for the popular masses to exercise their Socialist democratic rights in our country. The interest and aspirations of the people, the determination and emotions of the people, the opinions and suggestions of the people are all content that the Party and government must constantly give high regard to and consider, reflecting these things through news reporting through news reporting, shaping public opinion, is also public opinion supervision. News public opinion supervision is realized through the efforts of news workers. News journalists aren’t responsible cadres of Party and government, generally speaking, they are not greatly constrained by the concrete position of a certain work unit or organization, and when looking at problems, they can relatively easily be a bit more detached; their life is among the masses, and their hear the real situation relatively easily; they mostly have a relatively high political level and cultural attainment, and can relatively sensitively discover and put forward problems; the work position where they are, has the condition to conveniently and unscrupulously reflect problems to leading organs and even the highest levels of policymaking. Because of this, we must give full regard to the supervision function of news public opinion, and must give full regard to giving rein to the function of news workers in news public opinion supervision.

The news public opinion supervision preached by the bigwigs going after bourgeois liberalization is fundamentally different from what we say. They want to override Party and government and stand opposite to the Party and people to conduct their so-called “supervision”, this sort of “supervision” frequently is ranting about the feelings of dissatisfaction they or the small clique to which they belong have towards the Party and people, and is even an attack on the Party and government. The popular masses basically don’t need this sort of “supervision” and firmly oppose this sort of so-called “supervision”.

Since the public supervision opinion of news is the supervision of the people, news workers must, by hook or by crook, go deeply into the realities of life, take root among the popular masses, meticulously experience, gain insight into and reflect the calls, desires and requirements of the masses. Our news reporting must increase the voices coming from below, represent the talk of the masses, notify superiors of the circumstance of inferiors, and between the broad masses and the Party and government, between all parts of the popular masses, build bridges of mutual understanding and communication, and contribute to realizing the supervision of the popular masses over Party and government work.

Summarizing the experiences of the recent few years, correctly giving rein to the supervising function of news public opinion, shall grasp the following matters: first, news workers must firmly stand on the viewpoint of the interest of the people, which is also standing on the viewpoint of the Party, reflect the calls, desires and requirements of the broad popular masses, this is the basic presupposition and starting point of public opinion supervision. Second, new work units must, through internal reference and internal bulletins reflect problems upwards, must strive for correctness, and may not adulterate matters, in order to avoid providing false information. Third,  the motivating function of news must be given full rein. These problems that the popular masses care for universally and for which there are conditions to resolve them must be selected and openly reported. Where public opinion supervision has had satisfactory conclusions, the masses can gain lessons concerning the Party line, principles and policies from that. Fourth, the Party and government must support and be good at utilizing public opinion supervision to improve and promote work. This is the key of pubic opinion supervision to gain real results. Fifth, news public opinion supervision must be conducted within the scope of the Constitution and laws, news work units and news workers shall also accept the supervision of the Party and people.

VII, Propaganda art must be stressed

If the principle of giving first place to positive propaganda is to be made to gain good effects, we must strive to raise propaganda art. Readers, listeners and viewers are the service  targets of newspapers, radio and television. To serve them with a whole heart and soul, we must first and foremost let them want to listen and want to watch, and to the best of our ability satisfy their different needs. Some positive propaganda content is very vigorous, but by not paying attention to reporting methods, means and technique, or not paying attention to the psychology and acceptance capacity of readers, people will not be willing to listen or willing to watch. Because of this, if no efforts are undertaken to raise propaganda art, the attractiveness, inspiration and persuasiveness of news towards the people is not strengthened, persisting in the principle of giving first place to positive propaganda will be an empty phrase.

Raising propaganda art first and foremost is a question of content. If there is no content attracting the attention of people, the facts of reports have no model significance or deep content, but writing and expression techniques are one-sidedly pursued, there can only be affectation. Conversely, if there is good content, but no attention is paid to expression methods and means, no attention is paid to techniques, it is dry and boring, dull and flavourless, it cannot gain good propaganda effect. What we require is the integration of content and form, the integration of ideology, knowledge and interest. Naturally, this is very hard to achieve completely, but practice demonstrates that as long as the attitude is upright, and energy can blossom, there will certainly be some fruits.

Raising propaganda art also contains a question recognizing the differentiation and specialization of different news work units. Just like any other thing, news tools have their own special characteristics. Talking about newspapers, they also each have their division of labour, if they are not divided along specialty, they are divided along regional lines, or divided along morning newspapers and evening newspapers, consequently they all have their own special tasks and service targets. The name of newspapers is the unification of the special and general. Paying attention to artistry must grasp specialization, between Party newspapers and specialized newspapers, central and local newspapers, as well as the newspapers of different localities, in report content, means and methods, and other aspects, there shall be some differentiation, they shall all give rein to their superiorities, and bring out their own characteristics.

In raising propaganda art, the key lies in that the editors-in-chief, journalists and editors must pluck up their spirits, fully give rein to their initiative, wisdom and talents, and painstakingly strive for change. As long as the broad news workers are filled with enthusiasm in dealing with their readers, viewers and listeners, an provide fine goods with a spirit of utter devotion to the masses in large numbers, they certainly will gain the faith and praise of the people.

VIII, Stressing the characteristics of news work

Persisting in the principle of giving first place to positive propaganda is not to deny the characteristics of news. The people can make many generalizations about the characters of news, but in my view, apart from the Party nature I talked about earlier, we must also pay attention to truth, timeliness and readability. First and foremost, the life of news lies in truth. If truth is deviated from, news has lost its reason of existence. Therefore, we must, just like cherishing our eyes, safeguard the principle of truth in news, persist in preventing and resisting fraud and trickery, arbitrarily bringing up and baselessly fabricating matters and other bad phenomena. We must persist in the principle of raising truth up to the height of persisting in the principle of the Party nature and persisting in the professional morals of news work.

Stressing giving first place to positive propaganda, has truth as a basis. As far back as 1925, Comrade Mao Zedong clearly advocated in his text “‘Political Weekly’ Reasons for Publishing Periodicals”: “Our method of counterattacking enemies, is not to use many arguments, it is only to faithfully report the facts of our revolutionary work. Enemies say: ‘Canton Communists’, we say: ‘Please look at the facts’. Enemies say: ‘Canton internal strive’, we say: ‘please look at the facts’. Enemies say: ‘The Canton government gangs up with Russia, humiliating the nation and forfeiting sovereignty,’ we say: ‘Please look at the facts’. Enemies say: ‘Under the Canton government, people in the abyss of suffering have no means of livelihood’, we say: ‘Please look at the facts.’ Using facts to speak, is the basic principle of our news reporting. The truthfulness of news not only requires that every piece of concretely reported news factors must be completely accurate, but also requires achieving truth, objectivity and completeness in terms of grasping overall news and propaganda. If the negative side is concentrated, eight editions would not be enough every day, and within that, every fact may perhaps be true, but from the overall picture, it completely does not conform to our true situation. Critical reports must undoubtedly seek truth from facts, and be completely true; reports of the positive side, that extol and praise, must also seek truth from facts and be completely true, otherwise, it will not only not give rise to the function of inspiring people’s hearts, but may also engender the opposite effect. The “false, large and empty” in vogue in the “Cultural Revolution”, for the sake of some political need, concretizing some nonexisting facts, this sort of vile style must be prohibited. In news practice, it cannot be said that there are no wilful fabrications, but these, in de end, are extremely few and far between. But because of low political levels, undeep investigation, or because of carelessness or rashness, it is a common matter that appearances of untruthfulness are created. Therefore, the method of going to the bottom of things is the work style of raising news teams’ Marxist levels, advocating going deep into reality, investigation and research, hard work and care and the work ethic of being serious and conscientious, neglecting no detail. Editorial departments must consider this matter as a large matter, and annually grasp it a few times. Otherwise, our news will not have credibility and not have authoritativeness among the popular masses, and the prestige of the Party and government may also be influenced because of this.

News is surnamed new. If things must be new, we must talk about timeliness. If we are slow by three beats, circumstances have changed, and there is no more news to talk about. Especially in the present society, communication tools and exporting methods become more modern every day, situations are changing fast, we again are under a condition of opening up, information extends in all direction, competition becomes stronger every day. How the militancy and attractiveness of news are, to a large extent depends on the speed of transmission. Some major events and sudden incidents, if we are slow in acting in reporting, frequently are caught in extremely large passiveness. The “Voice of America” has produced its vile effects during this turmoil and counterrevolutionary riot, apart from starting large amounts of rumours, an important reason is that it reports rapidly, and used people’s psychology of “first impressions are the strongest”. We must come to understand the question of timeliness from the height of the fighting force, attractiveness and competitiveness of news, as far as possible rapidly provide large amounts of information that the people urgently need to understand, and overawe others by displaying out strength. This requires to look in all directions and to listen to all sides, have insight into the wind and clouds of all under haven; at the same time, there is the work style and spiritual attitude of racing against the time. At the same time, attention must be paid to grasping the opportune moment of news reporting. Fast is a relative concept, new is not to seek novelty. When stressing timeliness, we must start from the requirements of safeguarding the interest of the country and the people, cautiously consider the time, line of action and effects of reporting, cannot be fast for the sake of being fast, we must not only be good at snatching, sometimes we must also be good at pressing down. If major sudden events are encountered, and for a short wile, the situation is not yet very clear, manuscripts can absolutely not be issued simply for the sake of worrying about foreigners snatching news away from us even more rashly, with the result that reports are inaccurate, harm the interest of the Party and people, and even gravely influence the larger picture of security and unity. Sometimes, in order to provide information as soon as possible, simple information may be published further, and further reporting can be added later. There are some circumstances under which we may do more and talk less, some where we can only do and not talk, and what should not be reported should absolutely not reported. Generally speaking, what we pursue should be high timeliness conform to the basic interest of the party and the people, is the high timeliness subordinate to the Party and State leading organs, under relevant regulations, it is the high timeliness under the presupposition of correctness and truth.

Strengthening the readability of news is for the sake of letting it enter into people’s ears, people’s eyes, people’s brains and peoples hearts as far as possible. To this end, writing styles must be forcefully improved, overcoming eight-legged twaddle, offering news with diversified forms and vivacity to the broad readers, letting people love to see and hear it, becoming a good teacher and helpful friend. Our Communist Party relies on the truth for food and relies on the truth to serve people. We must let people obtain conclusions themselves from large amounts of news, and must not point fingers or impose views on the people. All news with strong readability, mainly has the characteristic of sticking close to the masses and sticking close to life. People not only must work or study, they must also eat and be entertained at the same time. The needs of people are divers, our reporting should also be broad, regardless of whether it is within eight hours, or outside of the eight hours, people should all be able to find things they are interested in in news. Therefore, as long as it is beneficial knowledge and it is a healthy interest, it should be advocated and disseminated.

IX, Continuing to persist in news reform

We have already entered a new period of Socialist modernization construction, reform and opening up. The domestic and foreign social environment in which news and propaganda find themselves, the content, methods and service targets of propaganda reports, have all seen very large changes, news must adapt to trends and conduct deep reforms. If news reform is similar to reform in other areas, it isn’t a question of not wanting to reform, but is a question of how to reform. It should be pointed out that this sort of reform must persist in the Socialist orientation, must benefit strengthening and improving the Party’s leadership over news work. The opening of private persons running newspapers and stations cannot be opened. The capitalist view of news cannot be used in handling news reform, and Western news structures and models cannot be copied. The objective of our Socialist news reform is letting news work conform to the principle of the Party nature of news even more, abide by news rules even better, give rein to the function of modern public opinion tools, give rein to the function of news as the ears, eyes and mouthpieces of the Party, the government and the people. When news reform is done well, it will also be conducive to the satisfactory implementation of the principle of giving first place to positive propaganda. At present, in doing news reform well, the following points may be considered.

- We must perfect the internal leadership structure of news work units. In work units implementing an editor-in-chief (president, station head) responsibility system, the editor in chief should hold the position and the power. They must dare to be responsible for the work in their own scope of responsibility, handle matters decisively, fully give rein to their own intelligence and ability, and give rein to their initiative and creative spirit. Local Party Committees must fully understand and forcefully support this, and should not excessively intervene. Editors-in-chief should timely ask the Centre and local Party Committees for instructions concerning a number of important discussions and sensitive questions, in order to avoid and reduce mistakes. Inside the newspaper publisher, the hierarchical responsibility systems of journalists and editors to the department head and department heads to the editor in chief must be perfected.

- We must let the foothold of news reporting truly shift towards facing the masses. We must raise the running of newspapers, television and radio to the height of serving the people wholeheartedly, satisfying the people’s spiritual life needs, fully utilize limited page space, screen space and time to provide some information the broad masses need as much as possible, reflect their calls and requirements, and provide excellent services in many aspects to the masses. We must further expand newspaper reporting from the angle of the masses’ concerns, needs and understanding, and make broad reports of newly-happening events in all aspects domestically and abroad; we must continue to compress reporting of the daily life of all levels’ leading cadres, what needs to be reported are the activities of leaders, apart from major State affairs and State events, we must fix eyes upon tightening the relationship and communications between cadres and masses. We must propagate the creative activities of the popular masses in the constructions of the Four Modernizations, reform and opening up from many sides, making them gain full reflection in our newspapers, on television and radio.

- We must reform news propaganda content. We must strengthen and improve economic propaganda, and provide broad information for economic policymaking, production, business and management. We must strengthen science and technology propaganda, disseminate scientific and technological knowledge through all forms and stimulate scientific and technological progress. We must strengthen propaganda on Socialist democracy and the legal system, disseminate legal knowledge, and strengthen people’s ideas of the legal system. These propaganda matters, and especially economic propaganda, must change the situation of abstruseness, become vivid and vigorously, explaining the profound in simple terms, and link up closely with the people’s lives as far as possible, letting even more people see and hear it.

- We must reform the forms of news and propaganda. Newspapers are reporting news. If we want to expand the information quantity in newspapers, we must have more reports and short news. Our news must be a bit shorter, another bit shorter, and another bit shorter, changing the present situation of excessively many large articles and long speeches in newspapers, excessively many special sections, excessively many meeting reports and news about leaders’ daily life. Leading comrades’ general speeches and articles, in all cases where they are overly long, should be submitted for newspaper publication after summarizing, or only be mentioned to in information. For reports and investigation reports with important content but that are overly long, serialization methods divided among different days may be adopted. Academic research and theoretical propaganda articles published in newspapers should generally not be too long, some long articles with very many new ideas may be submitted to periodicals for publications, and newspapers print outlines. As for these articles that bluff and bluster, but are just empty words, newspaper have the power to refuse publication or reprinting. The titles of newspapers must formulate the necessary information, must be to the point, eye-catching and transmitted as much as possible, page layout must give prominence to focus points, be novel and unique.

In news reform, correctly dealing with the relationship between social interest and economic interest must be correctly dealt with, and social interest must be put first from beginning to end. Advertising may not be overly many or excessive, and may not foment harmful fads of highly praising foreign goods or pursuing extravagant spending in society. “Paid-for news” is strictly prohibited. All sorts of “earned income” in news work units, must be earnestly rectified. After rectification, their funding and income may be reduced, relevant government departments shall design methods to help them resolve difficulties.

X, Raising news team quality

In the forty years since founding the nation, and especially in the ten years of reform and opening up, the achievements and contributions of news work illustrate that our news teams generally are good, march with the Party, and are reliable. Our Party has made mistakes in the process of leading Socialist construction, run into setbacks, and the Party’s guidance over news workers has sometimes lost the suitable position. The broad news workers have, under difficult conditions, worked diligently, worked hard and endured criticism, this sort of spirit merits praise. Among our middle-age and young journalists and news-editing teams, there are already a batch of up-and-coming talents with strong politics, excellent work spirits and skills that can stand all tests that came to the fore, we shall continue to continuously straiten requirements of them, and meticulously foster them. It must be pointed out that during this turmoil and counterrevolutionary riot, concerning mistakes in news public opinion guidance orientations, the situation of all work units was different, and respective lessons should be learned, but generally speaking, the main responsibility is with the main Central leading comrades. A few degenerates have emerged among news teams, but the majority of comrades have undergone the test, and especially there were not a few main responsible persons in news work units, who under extremely complicated and difficult circumstances, clearly differentiated right and wrong, stood form in their positions, and did much work for the Party and the people.

But, because in recent years, newspaper teams developed too rapidly, fostering and education workers has not followed, in addition, the influences of bourgeois liberalization and harmful tendencies in society are also problems that existed in no small number among news teams. Correspondingly many comrades’ Marxism-Leninism theory levels are not high. The fine traditions of the Party’s news work have not been inherited and carried forward well in our news teams, capitalist news views still have a certain market. A number of comrades’ work style is not deep, their basic editing and writing skills are not solid, some even violate the personal integrity and professional ethics of news workers, commercialize news, pursuing private gain. This sort of situation illustrates that, if great efforts are not made to grasp raising news team quality, improving news work cannot be talked about, the principle of giving first place to positive propaganda will also not gain correct and effective implementation.

Raising the quality of news teams, is a strategic task at the news battle line. At present, we must first and foremost continue to earnestly do investigation and clean-up work well. We must fully estimate the gravity of bourgeois liberalization’s influence on news teams, connect ideology and reality, deeply criticize capitalist news views and eliminate their influence; persons obstinately persisting in bourgeois liberalization must be removed from news work positions. At the same time, we must realistically grasp news work unit leading rank construction, bring a number of comrades with strong politics, a certain theoretical level and professional abilities up to leadership ranks. Leading personnel at the news battle line must be good at observing and analysing changing circumstances from the overall picture and from politics, grasp propaganda policies and strategies well, persist in “politicians running newspapers”. We must realistically strengthen newspaper work personnel training work. We must organize everyone to earnestly study Marxist theory, strengthen professional ethics education and cultural professional training, and through social practice and news practice, raise everyone’s ideological and political levels, and news professional levels. For young journalists lacking real experience, we must create conditions to let them regularly get in touch with reality, and even send them to the grass roots to do a spell of real work. News work units must strictly be allocated staff, personnel can go in and go out. We must stress the selection of some  comrades having practical experience and who are experienced in news work and bring them into news teams.

XI, Straiten news propaganda discipline

News workers must be examples of abiding the Constitution and laws, and earnestly implementing the Party’s principles and policies. Under this precondition, news workers have a broad heaven and earth to sweep the length and breadth of, they may fully give rein to their own wisdom and talents, create vivid and vigorous news reports, that are rich and varied, and all have characteristics. At present, the reason to especially stress news propaganda discipline, not only considers that this is a requirement for the Party nature of news, and news workers must maintain consistency with the Party Centre in political affairs, and at the same time it also considers that news team quality rising must have a process. Because news employees all have differences in their own work history, political quality, policy levels and professional levels, it is hard to completely avoid that mishaps occur here and there in work. Under this sort of situation, stressing strict news propaganda discipline is conducive to reducing mishaps, and conducive to news workers obtaining training and improvement under strict requirements.

Newspapers and periodicals under the Party leadership must propagate the Party’s line, principles, policies and decisions, this is discipline. If individuals have different views, different opinions may be preserved, or according to certain organizational procedures, put forward, but it is absolutely not permitted to use public opinion tools held b oneself to express opinions that conflict with Centre decisions, it is absolutely not permitted to use news public opinion tools to wilfully express individual or clique views, determinations and emotions.

Articles published by Western, Hong Kong and Taiwan anti-Communist newspapers and periodicals that attack us or sow discord, may not be wantonly reprinted. Party members and cadres also may not privately establish connections with foreign anti-Communist newspapers and periodicals, or provide internal Party and government materials to them. It is absolutely not permitted to publish articles opposing the Party’s position in these reactionary newspapers and periodicals.

News work units must strengthen their sense of secrecy, straiten secret-keeping discipline, complete secret-keeping systems. Important news where the Centre authorized relevant news work units to publish it, other news work units may not vie to be first. We must stress differentiation between inside and outside, secrets that news employees learn about in their work, may absolutely not divulged to unconnected persons, and may certainly not be disseminated through all sort of gossip information. Those violating news and propaganda discipline, must absolutely be earnestly prosecuted, and according to different situations, be given criticism, education, Party or government disciplinary punishments; of those violating criminal law, criminal responsibility must also be prosecuted. Otherwise, it will be insufficient to change the situation that discipline has been loosened for a long time in a number of work units.

XII, Strengthening the leadership of Party committees over news work

Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out: “organizing newspapers well, making newspapers become fascinating, correctly propagating the Party’s principles and policies in newspapers, strengthening the connection of the Party with the masses through newspapers, this is a question that cannot be belittled  and has a major principle significance in our work.” All levels’ Party committees must give this high regard, realistically strengthen leadership over the news undertaking, especially under the present circumstances, and should give even more regard to news work than under any time in the past, closely grasping public opinion tools in their hands.

Party Committees strengthening leadership over news work, should mainly grasp large problems and problems of orientation. These include: selecting and appointing excellent cadres loyal to the undertaking of the Party to undertake leading work in news work units; regularly researching propaganda work; recruiting presidents and editors-in-chief to attend as non-voting delegates in relevant Party Committee meetings, creating conditions to let them understand leading organs’ policymaking and decisions earlier, and know the situations of the larger pictures a bit better; timely putting forward guiding opinions aimed at the positive side and especially in major issues; timely issuing alerts or even conducting the necessary gatekeeping concerning problems that may occur in public opinion guidance; stimulating news work units’ leaders to grasp internal ideology education work well; helping news work units to resolve real difficulties that they are not strong enough to resolve themselves, etc. As for the daily propaganda and reporting work of newspapers and periodicals, it includes daily layout arrangement, all levels’ Party and government leaders may let news work unit comrades handle this appropriately by themselves.

The main responsible comrades in Party Committees must grasp news work themselves, and be good at using public opinion tools to promote work in the larger picture. Using public opinion tools to mobilize the masses, disseminate experience and guide work, should become a basic skill for leaders. Large numbers of facts prove that, during key periods, in whether or not news and public opinion can maintain the correct orientation, the firm leadership of Party Committees is a decisive factor. Because of this, concerning speech, information and articles that may influence the overall picture, Party Committee main responsible comrades should realistically take up the responsibility for political gatekeeping, and when necessary, should draft or revise these themselves. As long as all levels’ Party Committees truly give high regard to news and propaganda, and realistically strengthen leadership, our news undertakings certainly will be full of vitality, and be organized ever better.

The meaning of all of the above points, is to be found in a number of main issues in the present news and propaganda work, have a relatively clear way of saying it, and have a basis that can be followed. Whether or not these objectives can be achieved, I hope everyone will broadly express opinions, supplement and revise matters.

坚持正面宣传为主的方针
李瑞环

(一九八九年十一月二十五日)
中宣部举办的新闻工作研讨班,很好。大家认真学习了党的十三届五中全会精神,围绕如何改进新闻工作展开了讨论,在一些重要问题上提高了认识,统一了思想。这次研讨活动,对于我国新闻事业的发展必将产生积极的影响。

我们的党和国家正处在一个非常重要的时刻。党的十一届三中全会以来,我们以经济建设为中心,坚持四项基本原则,坚持改革开放,成绩是很大的。十三届四中全会以来,以江泽民同志为核心的中央领导集体采取了一系列果断措施,全国的局势日益稳定,各项工作都有进展,赢得了全国人民的信任。但是,我国经济在前进中也存在着许多问题和困难。十三届五中全会正确地分析了形势,决定用三年或者更长一点时间基本完成治理整顿的任务,实现经济持续、稳定、协调的发展。解决多年积累下来的问题需要有一个过程,实行财政、信贷“双紧”方针,进行经济结构调整,也会带来一些新的困难。特别是在制止动乱和平息反革命暴乱之后,一些思想认识问题的深入解决还需要做许多工作。西方一些国家对我国的经济“制裁”仍在继续。近几个月来东欧一些国家政局出现的动荡和变化,也需要我们冷静对待。总之,形势很好,问题不少。我们既要充满信心,又不可掉以轻心。当前压倒一切的是稳定。我们要进行多方面的努力,充分发挥我们的政治优势,稳定经济,稳定政治,稳定社会,在巩固改革开放成果的同时,实现治理整顿的目标。完成这一任务,虽不能说主要依靠新闻宣传,但确实需要新闻宣传的紧密配合。新闻宣传如何按照中央的精神把工作做好,做到有利于稳定,有利于鼓劲,只能帮忙,不能添乱,确实是一个值得重视和研究的大问题。

当前,改进新闻工作需要研究和解决的问题很多。无论是从新闻工作的一般意义上讲,还是从当前各方面的实际情况来讲,或是从稳定是压倒一切这个大局来讲,关键的问题是新闻报道必须坚持以正面宣传为主的方计。我认为,这是社会主义新闻事业必须遵循的一条极其重要的指导方针。坚持这个方针,就是要准确、及时地宣传党的路线、方针、政策,实事求是地反映社会现实生活的主流,让人民群众用创造新生活的业绩教育自己形成鼓舞人们前进的巨大精神力量,在当前就是要造成一个有利于稳定局面的舆论环境。下面我想就这个问题以及与此有关的问题,谈一些看法和意见,以求教于在座的行家们。

一、认真总结历史经验

回顾我们党的新闻事业的发展历史,至少可以得出两个鲜明的结论:一是我们党历来十分重视新闻工作;二是坚持对人民革命和社会主义事业以正面宣传为主。

我们党的许多老一辈革命家,从党的创建时期直至全国革命胜利以后,不仅亲手创办了一批宣传革命真理的报刊,而且亲自动手写评论、写消息。毛泽东同志早年主办《湘江评论》、《政治周报》,后来在延安领导创办《解放日报》和新华广播电台,周恩来同志抗日战争期间在重庆亲自领导《新华日报》的工作,这些都是大家所熟知的。毛泽东同志的《对晋绥日报编辑人员的谈话》,刘少奇同志的《对华北记者团的谈话》,以马克思主义观点阐述了党的新闻工作的性质和任务,至今仍是我国新闻工作者的必读文献。邓小平同志建国初期所作的《在西南区新闻工作会议上的报告》,强调“拿笔杆是实行领导的主要方法”,“出报纸、办广播、出刊物和小册子”“在贯彻实现领导意图上,就比其他方法更有效、更广泛,作用大得多”;指出办好报纸必须有结合实际、联系群众、批评和自我批评三个条件,以及要大家办报等。这些意见,对今天改进新闻工作仍有着十分重要的现实意义。在粉碎“四人帮”之后,小平同志支持报刊开展真理标准的讨论,恢复和发展了党的实事求是的思想路线,为制定和贯彻党的十一届三中全会以来的路线、方针、政策奠定了思想理论基础。总之,党中央的关心和重视,正是我们党的新闻事业从无到有,不断发展壮大的根本保证。

就新闻战线自身的发展来说,是否正确地、全面地理解和执行以正面宣传为主的方针,直接关系到舆论作用的发挥,也关系到社会主义新闻事业的成败。一般说来,新闻舆论作用发挥得比较好的时期,也正是这个方针贯彻得比较好的时期;反之亦然。五十年代,关于中国共产党三十年伟大、光荣、正确历史的宣传,抗美援朝、保家卫国的爱国主义宣传,黄继光、邱少云等战斗英雄的宣传和孟泰、马恒昌、李顺达、郝建秀、王崇伦等劳动模范的宣传,以及大规模有计划的社会主义经济建设的宣传;六十年代,关于独立自主、自力更生、上下一心克服暂时困难的宣传,大庆油田创业史、“铁人”王进喜、雷锋精神和焦裕禄事迹的宣传;十一届三中全会以来对拨乱反正、经济建设和改革开放的宣传,所有这些,都曾对我国人民发挥了巨大的鼓舞作用,对我国社会主义建设事业起到了积极的推动作用。在坚持这个正确方针的过程中,也锻炼和培养出一大批知名度较高并且深受党和人民信任的新闻工作者。在“文化大革命”期间,全局性的“左”的错误使新闻事业遭到了严重的干扰和摧残。那种“假、大、空”的所谓“正面宣传”使新闻在广大群众中丧失了信誉,那种揭批“走资派”的宣传给党和革命抹了黑。这个沉痛的历史教训,人们永远不会忘记。

再从今年的情况来看,可以说,我们的新闻战线既有成功的经验,也有失败的教训。在今年春夏之交的风波中,新闻界有少数同志背离了党和人民的立场,几乎到了是非混淆、敌我不分的地步。有的报刊对动乱和北京的反革命暴乱起了推波助澜的作用。可以说,这一段时间内新闻工作的教训是十分深刻的。在四中全会以后,由于中央和地方采取了一系列重大措施,整个新闻战线发生了可喜的变化。在揭露反革命暴乱真相,反对资产阶级自由化,宣传建国四十周年的巨大成就,宣传先进模范人物的事迹,宣传廉政建设,宣传加强和改进思想政治工作,以及开展“扫黄”斗争等方面,新闻界的同志们做了大量工作,取得了很好的效果,新闻舆论对稳定大局起到了很好的促进作用。中央和地方的新闻舆论机构(包括报纸、通讯社、电视台、广播电台)关于建国四十周年成就的宣传,搞得有声有色,电视节目“弹指一挥间”等更是受到全国上上下下的好评。可以说,这一段时间内新闻工作的成绩是非常显著的。总之,历史经验证明,新闻工作必须坚持而绝不能背离正面宣传为主的方针。

二、增强新闻宣传的党性

社会主义新闻宣传的党性,概括来说,就是无产阶级的阶级性和马克思主义的革命性、科学性的集中表现。这是区别于资产阶级新闻宣传的最显著的标志。我们说报纸是党、政府和人民的耳目喉舌,就是对新闻工作党性的一种鲜明的、形象的和科学的表达。它的主要内容是:公开声明自己站在党和人民的立场上说话,在政治上同党中央保持一致;坚持实事求是,说真话,不说假话;密切联系人民群众,真诚地和人民同呼吸,共甘苦,齐爱憎,正确地反映他们的愿望、呼声和要求;服从党的领导,遵守宣传纪律。

坚持新闻宣传的党性,就是要旗帜鲜明地宣传真理,宣传现实生活中进步的、光明的、先进的、积极的东西,揭露和批评反动的、黑暗的、落后的、消极的东西。必须准确地、坚持不懈地向广大群众宣传党的基本路线,宣传建设有中国特色的社会主义理论,宣传党和政府的方针、政策和法规。新闻报道必须注重社会效果,以社会效益为最高准则。在报刊、广播、电视的宣传中,决不允许发表违反宪法和法律的主张,决不允许发表诋毁、否定党的领导和社会主义制度的报道和言论,决不允许散布错误舆论、动摇人们对社会主义的信念,决不允许利用精神鸦片毒害人们的灵魂。不能因为新闻报道的失误影响社会的稳定。

我们的新闻事业是党的新闻事业,是社会主义国家的新闻事业,新闻的党性同新闻的人民性,两者是统一的。我们党的宗旨是全心全意为人民服务,除了人民的利益以外,党没有自己的私利。党是人民利益的最集中的代表者。因此,党的耳目喉舌当然是人民的耳目喉舌。新闻工作对党负责与对人民负责是完全一致的。前几年新闻界曾有过党性与人民性的争论,有的人主张人民性高于党性,报纸应当跟人民走,而不应当跟党走。这种将人民性与党性对立起来的观点是根本错误的,是十分有害的。在今年春夏之交发生的动乱和反革命暴乱中,新闻界极少数人正是以“人民性”为幌子,与党分庭抗礼,兴风作浪,起了很坏的作用,既危害了党的事业,也损害了人民的利益。在新闻战线工作的同志应当从这次血的教训中警醒。

既然我们在理论上和实践上承认并坚持新闻宣传的党性,那么在新闻报道中坚持正面宣传为主的方针就是题中应有之义了。我们所说的“正面”,所说的“为主”,就是要着力去宣传报道鼓舞和启迪人们发展社会生产力的东西,鼓舞和启迪人们坚持四项基本原则、坚持改革开放的东西,鼓舞和启迪人们加强社会主义民主和法制建设的东西,鼓舞和启迪人们推进社会主义精神文明建设的东西,鼓舞和启迪人们热受伟大祖国和弘扬民族文化的东西,鼓舞和启迪人们维护国家统一和民族团结的东西,鼓舞和启迪人们为推动世界和平与发展而斗争的东西。总之,一切鼓舞和启迪人们为国家的富强、人民的幸福和社会的进步而奋斗的新闻舆论,都是我们所说的正面,都应当努力加以报道。

三、讴歌人民的英雄业绩

列宁说过,生气勃勃的创造性的社会主义是人民群众自己创造的。我们党领导人民建设具有中国特色的社会主义,不管这一事业有时会经历怎样的曲折和失误,但从根本上说,从长过程说,这一事业无疑是我国历史上最壮丽、最伟大的事业,人民群众创造历史的主流总是健康的,光明面总是占主导地位的。无论是这一事业本身还是投身这一事业的人民群众,都是值得讴歌的。这是辩证唯物主义和历史唯物主义的基本观点。坚持正面宣传为主的方针,理直气壮地宣传人民群众创造历史、改造社会、建设新生活的英雄壮举,宣传社会主义在中国不断前进的历史真实,正是新闻工作者义不容辞的历史责任。

人民群众自己教育自己,是推动历史发展的基本方式之一。人民群众在创造历史的进程中,总是有所发现,有所发明,有所创造,有所前进。加强正面宣传,用人民群众自己创造的英雄业绩来教育人民,是最有说服力、最能鼓舞人心的。这本来是我们的一条成功经验。近十年来,我们的新闻机构对“四化”建设与改革开放的成就、经验和先进人物也作了不少报道,但是从总体上说还不够充分,不能与时代的前进步伐相呼应,还没有形成一种振奋精神、艰苦创业、励精图治、无私奉献的社会舆论环境。应该说,这是邓小平同志指出的这些年来思想政治工作薄弱、艰苦奋斗的教育进行得不够这个最大失误在新闻工作中的一种反映。我们之所以强调坚持正面宣传为主的方针,就是为了改变这种状况。在目前我们遇到暂时困难,不少同志信心不足的时候,坚持这一方针尤为必要。

坚持以正面宣传为主的方针,用人民群众自己创造的英雄业绩来教育人民,实质上也是我们党实现领导的一种重要方式。因为人民群众在创造历史的过程中,总有一部分先进的人走在前头,他们创造的较高劳动生产率、先进工作方法,他们在这种创造过程中表现出来的高尚的精神境界、道德风貌,无疑具有极大的示范和引导作用。领导者的责任,就在于把他们的经验和事迹加以总结、推广,使他们的先进经验和先进思想逐步成为全社会的共同财富。对于一个领导者来说,这是提高自己领导水平的一条重要途径。

四、注重舆论的导向作用

新闻舆论对人们的思想和行动具有迅速、广泛而深刻的导向作用。人们常说,报纸是“射程最远的大炮”。特别是在今天,随着科学技术的进步、人民群众物质生活条件的改善和文化水平的提高,看电视,听广播,读报纸,已经成为人们日常生活的重要组成部分。新闻舆论随时随地都在影响着人们的思想和行动。一条新闻,可以启迪人民奋发进取,也可能混淆视听,涣散人心。还必须看到,随着改革开放的深入,国外境外的大批记者进行采访,国外境外的各种声音也通过种种渠道迅速地传递进来,其中有许多新闻报道,或由于作者的政治偏见,或是有意造谣歪曲,往往造成错误的舆论影响。利用舆论蛊惑人心,进行颠覆煽动,已成为敌对势力实行和平演变战略的一个重要手段。因此,正确发挥新闻舆论在当代社会生活中的导向作用,既是正确引导人民群众的需要,也是反对敌对势力反动宣传的需要。对此我们必须有新的足够的认识。

新闻报道只有坚持以正面为主的方针,才能正确地、充分地发挥引导社会舆论的作用,才能有助于大局的稳定和各种社会问题的解决。党的方针政策是人民群众眼前利益与长远利益、局部利益与整体利益相结合的集中体现,新闻引导社会舆论,要坚持用党的政策主张引导群众,把党的政策化为群众的自觉行动。党的十一届三中全会以来的路线方针政策,实践证明是正确的,全面地准确地宣传“一个中心,两个基本点”,做到不偏颇倾斜,始终是新闻舆论工作的一个重大问题。有关党和国家方针政策的宣传要保持稳定性和连续性,防止由于宣传不当影响经济稳定和社会稳定。对于在小范围内进行的试验,宣传上要取谨慎态度,不允许公开宣传与现行政策相抵触的东西,防止造成干部、群众的思想混乱。

新闻引导社会舆论,要注意防止片面性。新闻宣传提倡什么、反对什么,旗帜要鲜明;在具体掌握上要防止“刮风”。当我们宣传某项工作时,要讲清具体情况、政策界限;当我们表扬先进人物、先进经验时,要讲清不同的条件,留有余地;当提倡某种做法、形式时,不要贬低另一种可行的做法、形式;在强调宣传这一面时,对允许存在的另一面也要作适当报道;当社会舆论过分集中在某些“热点”问题时,要注意适当分流。解决好这个问题,要靠记者有高度的责任心和政治敏感,更要靠总编辑掌握全局,统筹安排。新闻宣传领导机关也要从宏观上及时加以指导。

坚持四项基本原则、反对资产阶级自由化,是新闻战线一项长期而重要的任务。我们强调正面宣传为主的方针,正是实现这个任务的迫切需要和实际步骤。极少数顽固坚持资产阶级自由化的人,否定四项基本原则,在新闻报道上的惯用手法,就是夸大渲染我们社会的消极现象和阴暗面。这些人之所以那么起劲地要办同人报、同人电台,之所以那么狂热地鼓吹所谓的“新闻自由”,无非是要同我们争夺社会主义的舆论阵地,以便毫无顾忌地“揭露”共产党的“腐败”和社会主义的“失败”。这是资产阶级自由化在新闻领域的一个要害。我们之所以要坚持正面宣传为主的方针,大张旗鼓地宣传共产党领导的必要性和社会主义制度的优越性,宣传党的正确领导和社会主义的现实成就,正是和资产阶级自由化针锋相对。正面宣传搞得越生动、越丰富,对自由化思潮的抵制、揭露和反击就越有力。

五、重视和改进批评报道

坚持正面宣传为主的方针,不是不要批评报道。重视和改进批评报道,同样是新闻事业的社会主义性质和党性原则决定的。批评与自我批评,包括新闻批评,是我们党的建设的重要法宝之一,是我们党克服消极思想侵袭、保持健康肌体的有力武器。正因为如此,我们党历来重视在报刊上开展批评。早在建国初期,中央针对我们党处于执政地位“容易产生骄傲情绪,在党内党外拒绝批评,压制批评”的新情况,专门作出了《关于在报纸刊物上展开批评和自我批评的决定》。一九五四年七月十七日,《中共中央关于改进报纸工作的决议》又进一步明确规定:“把报纸是否充分地开展了批评、批评是否正确和干部是否热烈欢迎并坚决保护劳动人民自下而上的批评,作为衡量报纸的党性、衡量党内民主生活和党委领导强弱的尺度”。十一届三中全会以后,针对“文化大革命”中党的这一传统遭到严重破坏的情况,一九八一年一月二十九日在《中共中央关于当前报刊新闻广播宣传方针的决定》中再次重申:“各级党委要善于运用报刊开展批评,推动工作。”开展批评,是我们党领导的事业及自身建设的需要,也是我们党有自信心、有力量的表现。因此,批评报道不是要不要的问题,而是如何坚持和改进的问题。

报纸、通讯社、广播、电视有没有严肃认真的批评,关系到新闻机构的形象和新闻宣传的效果。新闻报道经常有一点严肃认真的批评,提倡什么,反对什么,态度鲜明,就显得有生气,有战斗性。群众的愿望、意见、要求得到了反映,心情就舒畅,积极性就高涨。群众的情绪能够通过正当渠道得到疏解,就不至于来个“总爆发”,也有助于整个社会的稳定。反之,如果没有一点批评,新闻报道就会显得沉闷、呆板,缺乏生气,缺乏战斗性。这里的关键在于正确处理好正面宣传与批评报道的关系,处理好歌颂与揭露的关系。新闻既要讴歌伟大的成就,也要对存在的问题展开批评;既要赞颂时代的壮举,也要对消极丑恶现象进行揭露。当然,正面宣传必须占主导地位,批评与揭露性的报道只能占次要位置,并且要十分注意把握分寸。批评的东西太多、太集中,连篇累牍,效果肯定不好。我们的批评报道,不是为批评而批评,不是为了展示和渲染落后现象,而是为了改进工作,解决问题,增强人们前进的信心。批评报道要有下文,有实际效果,以充分显示党和人民克服消极现象的决心和力量,从而进一步团结、鼓舞和激励人民,为实现建设有中国特色的社会主义宏伟目标努力奋斗。无论是表扬还是批评,最后都要给人以力量,给人以信心,给人以勇气,给人以希望。对消极的东西如果处理得当,也可以起到积极的作用。这就是我们追求的目的。

从目前批评报道的实际状况看,既有新闻单位不大善于批评的问题,也有被批评者包括一些领导机关、领导干部不习惯不适应批评的问题。有些被批评的部门、单位认为“家丑不可外扬”,于是就到处说情,或设置障碍,使健康的批评报道也难以正常进行。这种状况应当通过各方面的努力,逐步加以改变。从新闻单位来说,发表批评性报道要站在党和人民的立场上,以热情帮助解决问题的态度,选择具有普遍教育意义的、有代表性的典型事例。不仅要注意问题的合理性,而且要注意问题解决的可能性。同时,批评报道的事实一定要准确,对问题的分析要客观。凡涉及重大问题的批评报道,要同有关上级或主管部门联系,并听取被批评者的意见,核查事实。中央新闻单位在批评报道中涉及到地方时,要多与地方党政领导机关通气、协商,多尊重他们的意见。新闻工作者不要把自己放在“裁判官”的位置。批评报道出现失误应公开更正。从被批评者来说,尤其是作为领导干部和领导机关,要充分理解、积极支持来自新闻单位的批评,增加对新闻批评的承受能力,自觉地拿起批评的武器,依靠舆论的力量,弘扬正气,打击邪气,推动工作。

六、正确实行舆论监督

坚持正面宣传为主的方针与正确地实行舆论监督是一致的。新闻舆论的监督,实质上是人民的监督,是人民群众通过新闻工具对党和政府的工作及其工作人员进行的监督,是党和人民通过新闻工具对社会进行的监督,不应仅仅看成是新闻工作者个人或者是新闻单位的监督。舆论监督包含批评报道,但不是简单地等同于批评报道,它在我国已成为人民群众行使社会主义民主权利的一种有效形式。人民的利益和愿望,人民的意志和情绪,人民的意见和建议,都是党和政府所必须时刻重视和考虑的内容,通过新闻报道把这些反映出来,形成舆论,也就是舆论监督。新闻舆论监督是通过新闻工作者的努力来实现的。新闻记者不是党和政府的负责干部,一般说不大会囿于某个单位、团体的具体立场,看问题比较容易超脱一点;他们生活在群众之中,比较容易听到真实情况;他们大都有较高的政治水平和文化素养,能比较敏感地发现和提出问题;他们所处的工作岗位,有条件方便地、无所顾忌地向领导机关直至最高决策层反映问题。因此,我们必须充分重视新闻舆论的监督作用,必须充分重视发挥新闻工作者在新闻舆论监督中的作用。

搞资产阶级自由化的头面人物所鼓吹的新闻舆论监督,同我们所说的根本不同。他们是要凌驾于党和政府之上,站在党和人民的对立面来进行所谓“监督”,这种“监督”往往是他们或他们的小集团对党和人民不满情绪的宣泄,甚至是对党和政府的进攻。人民群众根本不需要这样的“监督”,而且坚决反对这种所谓“监督”。

新闻的舆论监督既然是人民的监督,新闻工作者就要千方百计地深入实际,扎根于人民群众之中,细心地体验、洞察、反映群众的呼声、愿望和要求。我们的新闻报道,必须增加来自下面的声音,代表广大群众讲话,下情上达,在广大群众同党、政府之间,在各部分人民群众之间,架起相互沟通理解的桥梁,为人民群众实现对党和政府工作的监督做出贡献。

总结近几年来的经验,正确地发挥新闻舆论的监督作用,应当把握好这么几条:第一,新闻工作者必须坚定地站在人民利益的立场上,也就是站在党的立场上,反映广大人民群众的呼声、愿望和要求,这是舆论监督的根本前提和出发点。第二,新闻单位通过内部参考、内部简报向上反映问题,必须力求准确,不得掺假,以免提供错误信息。第三,要充分发挥新闻的能动作用。要选择那些人民群众普遍关心而又有条件解决的问题作公开报道。舆论监督有了满意的结果,群众就能从中受到党的路线、方针、政策的教育。第四,党和政府要支持和善于利用舆论监督来改进和推动工作。这是舆论监督取得实际效果的关键。第五,新闻舆论监督必须在宪法和法律的范围内进行,新闻单位和新闻工作者也应接受党和人民的监督。

七、必须讲求宣传艺术

要使正面宣传为主的方针取得良好效果,必须努力提高宣传艺术。读者、听众、观众是报纸、广播、电视的服务对象。全心全意为他们服务,首先就要让他们想听、爱看,尽量满足他们的不同需要。有些正面宣传内容是很积极的,但不讲究报道的方式、方法和技巧,不研究读者的心理和接受能力,人们就不愿听、不愿看。因此,如果不下功夫提高宣传艺术,不增强新闻对人们的吸引力、感召力和说服力,坚持正面宣传为主的方针就是一句空话。

提高宣传艺术首先是内容问题。如果没有引人注意的内容,报道的事实没有典型意义或深刻的内涵,而片面地去追求写作或表现技巧,那只能是矫揉造作。反之,有了好的内容,但不讲究表现的方式方法,不讲究技巧,干干巴巴,枯燥乏味,也不会收到好的宣传效果。我们要求的是内容与形式的统一,思想性与知识性、趣味性的统一。当然,这很难全部做到,但实践证明,只要态度端正,肯花气力,一定会有所收获。

提高宣传艺术,还有个承认不同新闻单位的差别性或特殊性的问题。像其他任何事物一样,新闻工具都有各自的特殊性。就报纸来讲,也都各有分工,不是按专业分工,就是按地区分工,或是按日报、晚报来分工,因而也就各有自己的特定任务和服务对象。报纸的名字就是特殊和一般的统一。讲求艺术性就必须把握特殊性,党报与专业报,中央报与地方报,以及不同的地方报之间,在报道的内容、方式、方法等方面都应当有所区别,都应发挥各自的优势,办出自己的特色。

提高宣传艺术,关键在于总编辑、记者、编辑要振作精神,充分发挥自己的主动性和聪明才智,刻意求新。只要广大新闻工作者以满腔的热情对待自己的读者、观众和听众,向人民群众多多奉献精神佳品,就一定会赢得他们的信赖和赞许。

八、注意新闻工作特点

坚持正面宣传为主的方针并不否认新闻的特点。新闻的特点,人们可以作多种概括,但照我看,除了前面谈到的党性以外,还要注意真实性、时效性和可读性。首先,新闻的生命在于真实。离开了真实,新闻就失去了存在的意义。所以我们要像爱护眼睛一样,维护新闻的真实性原则,坚决防止和杜绝弄虚作假、任意拔高和凭空杜撰等不良现象。要把坚持真实性提高到坚持党性原则、坚持新闻工作职业道德的高度来认识。

强调正面宣传为主,是以真实性为基础的。早在一九二五年,毛泽东同志在《〈政治周报〉发刊理由》一文中就明确主张:“我们反攻敌人的方法,并不多用辩论,只是忠实地报告我们革命工作的事实。敌人说:’广东共产’,我们说:’请看事实’。敌人说:’广东内哄’,我们说:’请看事实’。敌人说:’广州政府勾联俄国丧权辱国’,我们说:’请看事实’。敌人说:’广州政府治下水深火热民不聊生’,我们说:’请看事实’。”用事实说话,这是我们新闻报道的基本原则。新闻的真实性不仅要求每一篇具体报道的新闻要素必须真实准确,而且要求从新闻宣传整体的把握上做到真实、客观、全面。如果把阴暗面集中起来,每天八个版都登不完,其中每件事都可能是真实的,但从整体上看完全不符合我们的真实情况。批评性报道,固然要实事求是,完全真实;正面报道,歌颂性的,表彰性的,也要实事求是,完全真实,否则不但起不到鼓舞人心的作用,而且可能产生相反的效果。“文化大革命”中盛行的“假、大、空”,为了某种政治需要,没有的事实也硬加上去,这种恶劣作风必须禁止。在新闻实践中,故意造假的不能说没有,但毕竟是极个别的。但由于政治水平低,调查不深入,或者因粗疏操切而造成失实的现象倒是屡见不鲜。所以治本的方法,是提高新闻队伍的马克思主义水平,提倡深入实际、调查研究和艰苦细致的工作作风及严肃认真、一丝不苟的工作态度。编辑部要把这件事当成大事,每年抓它几次。否则,我们的新闻在人民群众中就没有信誉,没有权威,党和政府的威信也会因之而受到影响。

新闻姓新。要新就要讲时效。慢三拍,时过境迁,就没有新闻可言了。特别在当今社会,传播工具、通讯手段日益现代化,情况瞬息万变,我们又处在一个开放的条件下,信息四通八达,竞争日趋激烈。新闻的战斗性、吸引力如何,很大程度上取决于传递的速度。一些重大事情和突发事件,如果我们在报道上动作迟缓,往往陷于极大的被动。“美国之音”在这次动乱和反革命暴乱中起了极其恶劣的作用,除了它大量造谣以外,一个重要原因就是它的报道快,利用了人们“先入为主”的心理。我们要从增强新闻的战斗力、吸引力、竞争力的高度来认识时效性的问题,尽可能快地提供大量人们迫切需要了解的信息,先声夺人。这就要求我们眼观六路、耳听八方,洞察天下风云;同时又有争分夺秒的工作作风和精神状态。与此同时,也要注意掌握新闻报道的时机。快是相对概念,新并不是猎奇。讲求时效必须从维护国家、人民利益的需要出发,慎重考虑报道的时间、口径和效果,不能为快而快,不仅要善于抢,有时也要善于压。如遇到重大的突发事件,一时情况还不很清楚,决不能仅仅因为担心外国人同我们抢新闻便草率发稿,以至报道失实,危害党和人民的利益,甚至严重影响安定团结的大局。有时为了尽快提供信息,可先发简单消息,随后再进一步加以报道。有些事情可以多做少说,有的则只做不说,不该报的坚决不报。总之,我们追求的应当是符合党和人民根本利益的高时效,是在服从党和政府领导机关有关规定下的高时效,是准确、真实前提下的高时效。

增强新闻的可读性,是为了让尽可能多的人入耳、入眼、入脑、入心。为此,要大力改进文风,克服八股腔调,把形式多样、生动活泼的新闻奉献给广大读者,让人们喜闻乐见,成为良师益友。我们共产党人靠真理吃饭,靠真理服人。要让人们从大量的新闻中自己得出结论,不要指手划脚,强加于人。凡是可读性强的新闻,大多具有贴近群众、贴近生活的特点。人们不仅要工作、学习,同时也要吃饭、娱乐。人的需求是多方面的,我们的报道面也应当是广阔的,无论是八小时以内,还是八小时以外,人们都应能从新闻报道中找到感兴趣的东西。因此,只要是有益的知识,是健康的趣味,就应该提倡和传播。

九、继续坚持新闻改革

我们已进入社会主义现代化建设和改革开放的新时期,新闻宣传所处的国内外社会环境,宣传报道的内容、手段和服务对象,都发生了很大的变化,新闻必须适应形势,进行深刻的改革。新闻改革如同其他方面的改革一样,不是要不要改的问题,而是怎样改的问题。应该指出,这种改革必须坚持社会主义方向,必须有利于加强和改善党对新闻工作的领导。私人办报、办台这个口子不能开。不能用资产阶级新闻观对待新闻改革,也不能照搬西方的新闻体制和模式。我们社会主义新闻改革的目的,就是使新闻工作更加符合新闻的党性原则,更好地遵循新闻的规律,发挥现代化舆论工具的功能,发挥新闻作为党、政府和人民的耳目喉舌作用。新闻改革搞好了,也有助于把正面宣传为主的方针落到实处。当前新闻改革要做好的工作可以考虑以下几点:

–要完善新闻单位内部的领导体制。实行总编辑(社长、台长)负责制的单位,总编辑应有职有权。他们对自己职权范围内的工作,要敢于负责,果断处理,充分发挥自己的聪明才干,发挥主动性和创造精神。地方党委对此要充分理解和大力支持,不应过多地干预。总编辑对一些重要言论和敏感问题,应及时请示中央或地方党委,以避免和减少失误。在报社内部要完善记者、编辑对部主任,部主任对总编辑的分级负责制。

–要把新闻报道的立足点真正转移到面向群众上来。要把办好报纸、电视、广播提高到全心全意为人民服务、满足人民精神生活需要的高度上来认识,充分利用有限的版面、画面和时间,尽量多提供一些广大群众所需要的信息,反映他们的呼声和要求,为群众提供多方面的优质服务。要从群众关心和需要了解的角度,进一步拓宽报道面,对国内外各方面新发生的事实作广泛报道;要继续压缩各级领导干部一般活动的报道,需要报道的领导干部的活动,除重大的国事活动和国务活动外,要着眼于密切干群之间的联系与沟通。要多侧面地宣传人民群众在四化建设和改革开放中的创造性活动,使之在我们的报纸、电视和广播中得到充分的反映。

–要改革新闻宣传内容。要加强和改进经济宣传,为经济的决策、生产、经营、管理提供广泛的信息。要加强科学技术的宣传,通过各种形式普及科技知识,促进科技进步。要加强社会主义民主和法制建设的宣传,普及法律知识,增强人们的法制观念。这些宣传,特别是经济宣传,要改变艰涩乏味的状况,搞得生动活泼,深入浅出,尽可能与人民生活紧密结合起来,使更多的人喜闻乐见。

–要改革新闻宣传的形式。报纸是报道新闻。要增加报纸上的信息量,就必须多报道短新闻。我们的新闻要短些、短些、再短些,改变目前报纸上大块文章、长篇讲话过多,专版过多,会议报道、领导人一般活动的新闻过多的状况。领导同志的一般性讲话、文章,凡篇幅过长的应摘要后再送报纸发表,或者只在消息中提及。内容重要而篇幅过长的通讯、调查报告,可采取分日连载的办法。报纸刊登的学术研究和理论宣传文章篇幅一般不宜过长,有些很有新意的长篇文章可送刊物发表,报纸刊登摘要。至于那些虚张声势、言之无物的文章,报纸有权拒绝发表或转载。报纸的标题制作必须有内容,要切题、醒目和传递尽可能多的信息,版面设计要重点突出,新颖别致。

在新闻改革中,要注意正确处理社会效益和经济效益的关系,始终把社会效益放在首位。广告不要过多过滥,不要助长社会上推崇洋货和追求高消费的不良风气。严格禁止“有偿新闻”。对新闻单位的各种“创收”,要认真整顿。在整顿后,他们的经费收入可能会减少,政府有关部门应设法帮助他们解决困难。

十、提高新闻队伍素质

建国四十年来,特别是改革开放十年来新闻工作的成就和贡献,说明我们的新闻队伍总体上是好的,是跟着党走的,是可以信赖的。我们党在领导社会主义建设过程中有过失误,受过挫折,党对新闻工作的指导有时也有失当之处。广大新闻工作者在困难的条件下,勤奋工作,任劳任怨,这种精神是值得称赞的。在我们的中青年记者、编辑队伍中,已经有一批政治上强、业务上精、作风过得硬的后起之秀脱颖而出,我们应当继续对他们严格要求,精心培养。必须指出,在这次动乱、反革命暴乱中新闻舆论导向的一度失误,各单位情况不同,应当分别吸取教训,但从总体看,主要责任在中央主要领导同志。新闻队伍中出现了个别败类,但大多数同志是经受住了考验的,特别是不少新闻单位的主要负责人,在极为复杂困难的情况下,明辨是非,站稳立场,为党和人民做了大量工作。

但是,由于近年来新闻队伍发展太快,培养教育工作没有跟上,加上资产阶级自由化及社会上不正之风的影响,新闻队伍中也存在着不少的问题。相当多的同志马列主义理论水平不高。党的新闻工作的优良传统在我们的队伍里没有得到很好的继承和发扬,资产阶级新闻观点还有一定的市场。一些同志工作作风不深入,编采写作的基本功不扎实,有的甚至违背新闻工作者的操守和职业道德,把新闻商品化,以稿谋私。这种状况说明,如不下大力量抓紧提高新闻队伍的素质,新闻工作的改进就无从谈起,正面宣传为主的方针也不可能得到正确有效的贯彻。

提高新闻队伍的素质,是新闻战线一项战略性的任务。当前,首先要继续认真搞好清查清理工作。要充分估计资产阶级自由化对新闻队伍影响的严重性,联系思想实际,深入批判资产阶级新闻观并肃清其影响;对顽固坚持资产阶级自由化的人要调离新闻工作岗位。与此同时,要切实抓好新闻单位领导班子的建设,把一些政治上强、有一定理论水平和业务能力的同志充实到领导岗位上来。新闻战线的领导人员必须善于从全局和从政治上观察分析形势的变化,掌握好宣传的政策和策略,坚持“政治家办报”。要切实加强新闻工作人员的培训工作。要组织大家认真学习马克思主义理论,加强职业道德教育和文化业务培训,并通过社会实践和新闻实践提高大家的思想政治水平和新闻业务水平。对缺乏实际经验的年轻记者,要创造条件让他们经常接触实际,乃至把他们派到基层做一段实际工作。新闻队伍要精干。新闻单位要严格编制,人员能进能出。要注意选拔一些有实践经验而又熟悉新闻业务的同志充实到新闻队伍中来。

十一、严格新闻宣传纪律

新闻工作者必须模范遵守宪法、法律和认真贯彻党的方针政策。在这个前提下,新闻工作者有着纵横驰骋的广阔天地,可以充分发挥自己的聪明才智,把新闻报道搞得生动活泼、丰富多彩、各具特色。当前之所以特别强调新闻宣传纪律,不仅考虑到这是新闻党性原则的要求,新闻工作者必须同党中央在政治上保持一致,同时也是考虑到新闻队伍素质的提高需要一个过程。由于新闻从业人员各自的工作经历、政治素质、政策水平和业务水平的差异,工作中出现这样那样的差错是难以完全避免的。在这种情况下,强调严格新闻宣传纪律,有助于减少差错,也有助于新闻工作者在严格要求中得到锻炼和提高。

党领导下的报刊必须宣传党的路线、方针、政策和决定,这是纪律。个人如有不同看法、不同意见可以保留,或按照一定的组织程序提出,但是绝不允许利用自己掌握的舆论工具发表同中央决定相抵触的意见,绝不允许利用新闻舆论工具任意表达个人或小团体的主张、意志和感情。

对于西方和港台反共报刊发表的对我进行攻击、挑拨的文章,不得随意转载。党员和干部也不得私自同境外反共报刊建立联系,或向他们提供党和政府的内部材料。绝不允许在那些反动报刊上发表反对党的主张的文章。

新闻单位要加强保密观念,严格保密纪律,健全保密制度。对中央授权有关新闻单位发布的重要新闻,其他新闻单位不得抢先。要注意内外有别,新闻从业人员在工作中了解的机密,绝不准向无关人员透露,更不得传播各种小道消息。对违背新闻宣传纪律者,一定要认真追查,并根据不同情况给以批评教育或党纪、政纪处分;触犯刑律的还要追究其刑事责任。非如此,不足以改变一些单位长期纪律松弛的状况。

十二、加强党委对新闻工作的领导

毛泽东同志指出:“办好报纸,把报纸办得引人入胜,在报纸上正确地宣传党的方针政策,通过报纸加强党和群众的联系,这是党的工作中的一项不可小看的、有重大原则意义的问题。”各级党委必须高度重视,切实加强对新闻事业的领导,特别是在当前形势下,应该比以往任何时候更重视新闻工作,把舆论工具牢牢掌握在自己手中。

党委加强对新闻工作的领导,主要应抓大的问题、方向性问题。包括:选派忠于党的事业的优秀干部担负新闻单位的领导工作;定期研究宣传工作;吸收社长、总编辑列席党委有关会议,创造条件让他们早一点了解领导机关的决策、决定,多熟悉一点全局的情况;对正面宣传特别是重大问题的宣传适时提出指导性意见;对舆论导向可能发生的问题要及时提醒以至进行必要的把关;督促新闻单位领导人抓好内部思想教育工作;帮助新闻单位解决他们自身无力解决的实际困难等。至于报刊的日常宣传报道业务,包括日常的版面安排,各级党政领导可放手让新闻单位的同志自行妥善处理。

党委主要负责同志要亲自抓新闻工作,善于运用舆论工具推动全局工作。利用舆论工具动员群众、传播经验、指导工作,应成为领导者的一项基本功。大量事实表明,在关键时刻,新闻舆论能否保持正确导向,党委的坚强领导是决定性因素。因此,对于那些影响全局的言论、消息和文章,党委主要负责同志应切实负起政治把关的责任,必要时应亲自动手起草或修改。只要各级党委真正重视新闻宣传,切实加强领导,我们的新闻事业一定会生机勃勃,越办越好。

以上各点,意在对当前新闻宣传工作中的一些主要问题,有个较为明确的说法,有个可资遵循的依据。能否达到这个目的,希望大家广泛发表意见,进行补充修正。

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One thought on “Persisting in the Principle of Giving First Place to Positive Propaganda

  1. Pingback: State Internet Information Office Deploys and Launches Special Campaign to Standardize Internet News Information Dissemination order | China Copyright and Media

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