Hanoi (VNA) – Information safety needs to be ensured in tandem with digital transformation in media agencies at present, heard a forum held in Hanoi on November 13.

The forum on the press and technology, held by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), was attended by representatives from press agencies, along with businesses operating in the fields of technology, press and communications.

Participants shared the view that digital technology will change the press and help press agencies better fulfill their role. They noted the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in press activities is indispensable in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) era.

Technology creates “new game”

Director of the MIC’s Authority of Press Luu Dinh Phuc said in Vietnam, many press agencies have applied new technologies to their activities to diversify products, create new income sources, manage users and increase interaction with readers. Some communications technologies forecast to develop strongly in the near future include robot reporter and applications for transcription and tracing photo origin.

About two years ago, many reporters remained unfamiliar with or even skeptical about the application of AI in the media. Now, AI has had observable presence in press activities. Many online newspapers have successfully applied AI to diversify the ways they serve readers such as the chatbot of VietnamPlus (Vietnam News Agency) or the text-to-speech service of Dan Tri and VietnamNet.

Giving further explanation of this issue, journalist Le Quoc Minh, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam News Agency, said VietnamPlus’s chatbot, making debut on November 13, 2018, marked a new step forward in the application of Industry 4.0’s achievements in the press.

Digital technology to change Vietnamese press: forum hinh anh 1Journalist Le Quoc Minh, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam News Agency, speaks at the forum (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Readers can request information they want and the app will automatically suggest suitable stories for them. Using AI algorithms, the chatbot of VietnamPlus is able to personalise the newspaper to meet the needs of each user by basing on the chat history between them and the app. Users can also select what they want to read by choosing topics, entering keywords or making vocal requests.

On November 8, this app was presented with the Award for Excellence in News Agency Quality of the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA), Minh noted.

Talking about voice-activated devices that are being applied around the world, he stressed that these devices are predicted to become important “gateways” for accessing entertainment stories, as well as other information and knowledge.

At the forum, many participants shared the view that in the future, more complicated tools for processing data, filtering news, verifying information, identifying images and making videos by AI will continue to be used as an inevitable trend in press activities.

Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung affirmed that technology will create a “new game” and a new business model amid the digital communications ecosystem around the globe experiencing very strong changes, pushing the press to a fierce competition to survive and develop. Therefore, seeking technological solutions must be made at the same time with the finding of new economic models for the press.

Digital technology to change Vietnamese press: forum hinh anh 2The chatbot app automatically interacts with readers of VietnamPlus (Photo: VNA)

Passing complexity to tech companies

According to the minister, Vietnam has had many strong digital technology companies which are able to not only supply telecom, information technology and cloud computing infrastructure but also develop platforms and applications for press activities.

In fact, some reporters still think that new technologies are usually complex. However, despite their complexity, technologies make reporters’ tasks easier, he said, adding that reporters are technology users and they should pass the technical complexity to tech firms.

Hung noted some businesses have pledged to stand side by side with press agencies in the digital transformation process such as Viettel Military Industry-Telecoms Group, CMC Corporation and Yeah1 Group.

Digital technology to change Vietnamese press: forum hinh anh 3Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung calls on the community to join hands for the press’s development (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Mentioning the media’s role in ensuring cyber safety and security, Director of the MIC’s Authority of Information Security Nguyen Huy Dung said with a big amount of data that is updated constantly, press and communications agencies are always the target of hackers.

Besides, media outlets are also channels for hackers to spread malwares quickly due to their high trustworthiness and a big number of users, he noted, pointing out that more than 80 percent of cyber attack risk come from internet users.

Press agencies are applying more and more new technologies, so they also need information safety solutions. In other words, information safety needs to be ensured in tandem with digital transformation in those agencies, Dung said.

He suggested media outlets boost the dissemination of knowledge about information safety and coordinate with professional tech firms to enhance information security.

Statistics of the Authority of Information Security show that about 60 percent of news and stories on the media focus on risks and incidents of information insecurity, 20 percent cover cyber security-related events, and 20 percent provides detailed instructions and recommendations about ways to use the internet more safely.

Therefore, Dung called on the media to increase information that helps users surf the internet in a safer manner./.

Within the forum’s framework, the MIC’s school for training information and communications management cadres and the Vietnam Dairy Products JSC (Vinamilk) signed a memorandum of understanding on the implementation of a project on developing the press in Vietnam between 2020 and 2024. The project, funded with 25 billion VND (1 million USD), will provide training to help improve journalists’ professional skills.