A discussion as part of the 44th OANA Executive Board Meeting in Hanoi on April 19 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Representatives from members of the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) and guest agencies have highly valued the theme of the 44th OANA Executive Board Meeting (OANA 44), along with the efforts of the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) as host.

The meeting was held in Hanoi on April 19 under the theme “For a professional and innovative journalism”.

Nurini Kassim, CEO of the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) and member of the OANA Executive Board, said: “The theme is highly relevant in the world of media today. Professionalism in journalism is needed more than ever due to the emergence of social media and the challenges it poses to the trade.”

“While the rapid development of social media has brought along many positive changes, some negative side effects have been observed. The rising trend of citizen journalism has provided many stories of popular and public interest, but the veracity of the information can be questionable and opinionated. This misinformation could then become widespread online and through social media,” she said, adding: “This lack of accountability threatens ethical reporting by mainstream and traditional media.”

“This is where professional journalism can play a key role, something that news agencies can be proud of, where our journalists and reporters are carefully trained, not only in writing skills, but also in the cardinal rules of journalism.”

The Bernama leader added that the credibility of a news organisation rests on the professionalism of its journalists.

Commenting on the theme and contents of OANA 44, Kakuya Ogata, in charge of external relations of Japan’s Kyodo News, said that the VNA chose particularly important issues relevant to fake news and other challenges facing news agencies for discussion at the event, which are also big problems for Kyodo News. He added that the meeting’s agenda matched the current context.

Meanwhile, Director General of the Lao news agency Khaosan Pathet Lao (KPL) Sounthone Khanthavong said that this theme aimed to bring benefits to all news agencies in the region with its it particular emphasis on innovation and professionalism.

He added that this event was a chance for the KPL to learn from the experiences in press work from Vietnam, as well as the region and the world.

In terms of preparations for OANA 44, Kakuya Ogata said the VNA was successful in organising this event. He also wished to offer sincere thanks to the host for its work.

Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Associated Press (AAP) Tony Gillies said: “It is a complex logistical exercise to bring more than 20 news agencies in from around the region. So much detail is required and from what I have seen of the VNA’s work so far, they have done a great job to bring us all together.”

“The programme itself looks full too and that’s important. Busy media executives need to know the trip is worthwhile and this looks good,” he said.

Echoing the view, KPL Director General Sounthone Khanthavong said the VNA held an excellent meeting with an agenda suitable for all participating news agencies. Activities within the event’s framework were organised in a professional manner, generating maximum effects.

Director General of the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) Maxim Minchev also recognised the sound preparations made for OANA 44 and its meaningful content to all news agencies. 

The event has also helped popularise the image of Vietnam to the world, he added. –VNA