Making news

44th Meeting of the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) Executive Board looks towards professional and innovative journalism

“For professional and innovative journalism” is the theme of the 44th Meeting of the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) Executive Board that opened in Hanoi on April 19 morning and was hosted by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA). The meeting focused on three urgent issues in journalism at present, namely: (1) strategies by news agencies in response to changes in audience habits with a focus on video content and YouTube platform; (2) fake news and fact checking; (3) regaining trust in mainstream press sources.

 Delegates read information on OANA news agencies. Photo: VNA

The meeting saw the presence of about 40 foreign delegates who are leaders and representatives of the member news agencies of the Executive Board and guests from OANA members, including many influential news agencies such as Azertac (Azerbaijan), TASS (Russia), Xinhua News Agency (China), Kyodo News (Japan), Yonhap News Agency (Republic of Korea), AAP (Australia)…

In his welcoming speech, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam highly valued the theme of the meeting and emphasised that innovative and professional journalism can attract a wider readership and consolidate the public’s trust, especially in the context of fake news undermining society’s trust in the media. He affirmed that press activities that were promoted to become both innovative and professional would give more strength to press agencies to perform their duty of providing precise information, thereby helping to bolster social development and build peace and harmony.

The deputy prime minister expressed his belief that representatives from the participating news agencies would be sharing experiences in developing and building strategies in the digital era, finding out effective solutions to improve information exchange and enhance the coverage of information from within and about the Asia-Pacific – the world’s most dynamic region that accounts for more than 50 percent of the global population and contributed 43 percent of the gross domestic product.

In his speech at the event, VNA General Director Nguyen Duc Loi laid stress on the increasingly important role of news agencies in providing source information for press outlets and partners in the context that conventional press and social media are facing an environment of greater competition than ever before. With more than 4 billion Internet users worldwide, many of whom use social networking sites to spread information, press agencies compete with not only one and another but also their traditional clients in an unfair way. Furthermore, the existence of both real news and fake news on various transmission platforms has been affecting readers’ confidence in mainstream press.

In a bid to settle such challenges, OANA members have been changing themselves not only to play the role of providing information directly to press outlets and partners, but also shoulder the responsibility of verifying information to bring press organisations and the public true, accurate and humane news.

Highlighting renovation and creativity as a matter of life or death for modern press, the VNA leader said that this is one of the reasons the OANA Secretariat and the VNA chose “For professional and innovative journalism” as the theme of the 44th meeting of the OANA Executive Board.

Inheriting the outcomes of previous meetings, at this year’s event participants focused their discussion on measures to improve the efficiency of news agencies in the digital era, as well as the report by the OANA Technical and Editorial Experts Group and the OANA’s ethics committee. New ideas and the application of new technologies in news production amidst the digital era will be brought to the table as well.

The OANA award for Excellence in News Agency Quality will be announced on the occasion to honour the initiatives of member news agencies.

A photo exhibition of 11 member news agencies organized on the sidelines of the meeting offers opportunities for them to exchange experience, and honour the professional photography of photo journalists in the region.

OANA was founded in 1961 as an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), with the aim of enhancing information exchange and sharing among regional countries. After 58 years, OANA groups 44 news agencies from 35 regional countries, becoming the largest media organisation in terms of total geographical area of countries and the total volume of news produced. The participation of big news agencies has developed OANA’s strong voice for nearly six decades.

Apart from establishing the position of a prestigious media forum in the region and the world, OANA provides a high-quality professional forum for leading journalists in the region. During their cooperation process, OANA’s members have always made adjustments to align the organisation’s activities up with press development trends. Through its unceasing efforts and achievements, OANA has asserted its role as the regional press organisation with growing prestige and efficiency in the world’s communications space.

The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) joined OANA in 1969 and is one of the organisation’s active members. VNA has proactively delivered external news on communications channels of OANA to popularise the policies and guidelines of the Party and State of Vietnam, alongside introducing the country and its people. The VNA was elected to the OANA’s Executive Board for two consecutive three-term terms that last from 2013 to now. This is the fourth time VNA has hosted the Executive Board Meeting of OANA, with previous rounds in 1989, 1999, and 2005.

VNA’s hosting of the 44th Executive Board Meeting of OANA has proven the role of Vietnam’s national news agency at this multilateral press forum. This view was also shared by OANA President Aslan Aslanov in the address he delivered at the meeting. He said VNA’s hosting of the meeting is hugely significant as it constitutes the Vietnamese Government’s contribution to the common development of the press and helps to reinforce the relations of press and media agencies, bringing them together to discuss global press issues. He spoke highly of VNA as one of the active members of OANA and the OANA Executive Board. By successfully organising the meeting and renewing its commitment to professional journalism, the VNA has again asserted its role and position as a leading regional news agency.

The OANA president also expressed his belief that the meeting would contribute to deepening cooperation among news agencies, reform the organising method, and create flexible mechanisms for information exchange thus pushing for greater success in regional press development.