Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam (first line, centre) and head delegates pose for a group photo at the meeting's opening ceremony on Friday morning. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — The 44th Executive Board Meeting of the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) officially opened in Hà Nội on Friday, with the theme “For 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 YouTube platform; fake news and fact-checking; and regaining trust for mainstream news.
In his opening speech, VNA General Director Nguyễn Đức Lợi, who is also a member of the Communist Party of Việt Nam Central Committee (CPVCC), said that in the last five decades since it became an OANA member in 1969, the VNA had 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 is also in an unfair competition 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,” Lợi said.
Furthermore, the co-existence of real and fake information across many communication platforms made the public lose faith in mainstream news, he said.
Lợi said: “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.”
Addressing the opening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam, 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 fake news, the OANA not only served as a direct channel to provide information to news organisations and partners but also served as a fact checker to help bolster the trust of the public in traditional press.
The OANA’s activities, such as building journalism guidelines in news reporting, editing, granting of awards in quality journalism and photo exhibitions, 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.
Đam stressed that since the renewal era, Việt Nam had achieved milestones in its development effort, which had been recognised and appreciated by the international community.
During that journey, the Vietnamese press had been standing side by side with the country, he said, mentioning the almost 100 news organisations in Việt Nam that employ 41,000 workers, of which 19,000 are journalists.
The Vietnamese press and the VNA would 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, Đam said.
The agency’s co-operation and information exchange with more than 40 international news agencies around the world had played an important part in the promotion of Việt Nam as a beautiful country, of Vietnamese people as a friendly and peace-loving people. "The VNA will remain a bridge to connect Việt Nam with our international friends and partners," the Deputy PM added.
“This year’s hosting of the 44th OANA Executive Board Meeting in Hà Nội 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 said.
Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam, Minister of Information and Communications Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, VNA General Director Nguyễn Đức Lợi and delegates visit a photo exhibition of 11 member news agency. — VNA/VNS Photo
OANA President Aslan Aslanov, who is also Chairman of the Board of the Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC), said the VNA was one of the most active members of OANA and its Executive Board.
By perfectly organising 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, could grow into a powerful platform for addressing the newly emerging challenges. “To this end, we should immediately apply innovations, continue to modernise our organisation 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. — VNS