OANA Executive Board convenes 44th meeting in Hanoi

Hanoi, April 19 (VNA) - The 44th Executive Board Meeting of the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) officially opened in Hanoi on April 19, with the theme of “For a professional and innovative journalism”.

Hosted by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), the meeting focuses on three main contents, including strategies of news agencies in response to changes in information use behaviours which focus on video clips and the YouToube platform; fake news and fact-checking; and regaining trust for mainstream news.

In his opening speech, VNA General Director Nguyen Duc Loi, who is also a member of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC), said that in the last five decades since it became an OANA member in 1969, the VNA has been an active member of the organisation and made various contributions to activities enhancing the development of journalism in the Asia-Pacific.

“The hosting of the 44th OANA Executive Board Meeting once again affirms the role and voice of the state news agency of Vietnam in this multilateral press forum, the largest of its kind in the region,” he said.

According to the VNA General Director, the world’s population now stands at 7.7 billion, of whom 52 percent are Internet users. They use the Internet not only to communicate but also to provide information. This has created a fierce competition against mainstream news.

“As such, the press not only competes with each other, but also unfairly competes with their own traditional readers who are using social networking platforms to spread information. The unfairness that I mention here is that while the press needs to verify information, conduct interviews, or collect relevant data to bring overall and objective information to the public, many organisations and individuals use social media accounts to spread unlimited amounts of unchecked and subjective information with only one click, some with negative intentions of making profits and causing social chaos,” Loi said.

Furthermore, the co-existence of real and fake information across many communication platforms has made the public lose faith in mainstream news, he said.

Loi affirmed that: “The function of news agencies is providing source information for press organisations and other partners. The OANA member news agencies have transformed themselves to perform the role of not only providing information but also verifying information to fulfil their mission of bringing accurate and humane information to press agencies and readers.”

The VNA General Director expressed his belief that the meeting will create an opportunity for participants to exchange and share experience to build a healthy press environment, meeting the public’s right of access to information.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, member of the CPVCC, said in recent years, in the wake of numerous forms of communications based on modern technologies as well as fast and widespread of faked news, the OANA not only serves as a direct channel to provide information to news organisations and partners but also serves as a fact checker o help bolster the trust of the public in traditional press.

The OANA’s activities, such as building journalism guideline in news reporting, editing, granting of awards in quality journalism and photo exhibitionsre, aimed to improve the effectiveness of information and to strengthen its role as a leading news organisation in the region and in the world, he said.

Dam stressed that since the reform era, Vietnam has made milestones in its development effort, which have been recognized and appreciated by the international community.

During that journey, the Vietnamese press has been standing side by side with the country, he said, adding that there are currently almost 100 news organisations in Vietnam that employ 41,000 workers, of which 19,000 are journalists.

The Vietnamese press and the VNA will continue to play an important part in bringing the news on the latest policies and laws to the people, in protecting citizen rights and to help promote the image of Vietnamese culture and people, Dam said.

The agency’s cooperation and information exchange with more than 40 international news agencies around the world has played an important part in the promotion of Vietnam as a beautiful country, of Vietnamese people as a friendly and peace-loving people. The VNA will remain a bridge to connect Vietnam with our international friends and partners, the Deputy PM added.

“This year’s hosting of the 44th OANA Executive Board Meeting in Hanoi has significant meaning as it marks the 50 years the agency has been a part of the OANA. We believe that the 44th OANA meeting will bring a breath of fresh air to the development of the organisation as well as the member agencies,” he noted.

Meanwhile, OANA President Aslan Aslanov, who is also Chairman of the Board of the Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC), said the VNA is one of the most active members of OANA and its Executive Board.

By perfectly organizing this meeting and demonstrating its commitment to excellence and professionalism in news industry, the VNA once again proved itself to be the leading media outlet in the region, he said.

OANA, which includes major news agencies of the region, can grow into a powerful platform for addressing the newly emerging challenges. “To this end, we should immediately apply innovations, continue to modernize our organization and create more flexible news exchange mechanisms. I believe this is what we all want and each of us is ready to contribute to this cause,” Aslanov stressed.

OANA was established in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 22, 1961, as an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

At present, OANA brings together 44 news agencies from 35 countries. OANA members are responsible for two-thirds of information circulated throughout the world. Every day, OANA member news agencies publish around 200 news stories, photos and video clips on the OANA website at http://www.oananews.org/.

The organisation holds its general assembly every three years to select an Executive Board with 13 member news agencies. The VNA is a member of the Executive Board for the 2016-2019 term.

OANA organises its Executive Board meeting annually under the host of an Executive Board member on a rotary basis. The meeting provides a venue for leaders of news agencies to share experience, update new journalism development trends in the world and discuss measures to consolidate professional cooperation.

Since joining the OANA in 1969, the VNA has proven itself as one of the active members of the organisation. The agency was elected to the OANA Executive Board for two consecutive terms, with each lasting for three years. 

The VNA hosted the OANA Executive Board Meeting in 1989, 1999 and 2005, actively contributing to completing the organisation’s targets. 

With the role of a “State news bank”, the VNA performs its function as the State news agency and provides official and mainstream news for its partners at home and abroad via 15 news departments of domestic and foreign service.

Boasting a network of 63 bureaus in all the cities and provinces nationwide and 30 overseas bureaus across the five continents, the VNA has a strong contingent of reporters and editors working all over the country and in most of the key locations around the world, which creates a unique advantage for it. 

With more than 60 media products by more than 1,300 reporters and editors out of its 2,500-strong staff, the VNA is now the media office having the largest number of products and forms in the country: bulletins, photos, television programmes, dailies, weeklies, monthlies, magazines, pictorials, books, TV channel, e-newspapers and information programmes on mobile platforms. 

The agency also delivers news in the largest number of languages. In addition to official Vietnamese-language news provided for domestic and foreign media outlets, stories for foreign services are written in English, Chinese, French and Spanish, not to mention print and e-newspapers in 10 languages: Vietnamese, Lao, Khmer, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, English, French and Spanish.

The VNA has bilateral and multilateral partnership with more than 40 international news agencies and press organisations in the world. The agency’s official news is widely published on communication channels of its partners, contributing to improving the effectiveness of disseminating Vietnam’s external information to international friends.-VNA

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