VNA Director General Nguyen Duc Loi (R) worked with OANA President Aslan Aslanov while attending the 43rd Executive Board Meeting of OANA in 2018 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –
The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) is one of the most active members in modernising the website of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA), and is an example to other agencies, according to President of the organization Aslan Aslanov.

He made the remarks in a recent interview with VNA reporters on the occasion of the 44th Executive Board Meeting of OANA, which will be hosted by the VNA in Hanoi on April 18-20, under the theme “For a professional and innovative journalism”.

The following is the full text of the interview.

Reporter: We all know that innovation in the press is constant, and each news agency needs to keep up with modern trends and improve product quality. However, these efforts should not be made by only member news agencies. What measures should OANA take to support the agencies in innovation and help them share results of their innovations?

Mr. Aslan Aslanov: Let me first of all express gratitude to the Government of Vietnam and Director General of Vietnam's VNA Nguyen Duc Loi on behalf of the members of the organization for hosting the 44th Executive Board Meeting of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA). The two leading agencies in the region, VNA and AZERTAC enjoy very efficient relations of partnership both in bilateral format and within OANA. I am very grateful to your team for this reliable partnership. I am confident that our meeting will be held at a high level.

I agree with you that OANA and other media organizations should assist with the development of member agencies so that they keep up with modern changes and are ready to address challenges on time.

As OANA chair, AZERTAC has put forward a package of proposals in this regard. We held broad discussions on the issue at the Executive Board meeting in Tehran too. A large part of these proposals is related to the transformation of OANA into a more modern organization. We made a proposal to establish a permanent general secretariat to ensure more flexible management of the organization. The list of proposals also includes the establishment of a Training Academy, and the organization of workshops and trainings on a regular basis by using the potential of member agencies' professionals.

The exchange of experience is the condition for the spread of innovations. When there is no experience and exchange of views, the implementation of innovations is delayed, and in general it is impossible to keep up with time. OANA’s improvement will therefore benefit each agency, and this should be our common job. Of course, each of us should do our best to make OANA a more useful organization for each member agency. There is still much work ahead.

Reporter: Modernization of OANA’s website aims to further spread its news. What progress has been made in upgrading the website?

Mr. Aslan Aslanov:  OANA’s website is a mirror of the organization. It is a constantly updated platform in which the advanced web-technologies were applied. It creates additional opportunities for each member agency to expand its readership.

As the chair of the organization, we first of all paid attention to the web access on mobile devices taking into account the mobile technologies trends. We created a mobile version of the website and updated a player so that videos can be easily watched on mobile devices, etc. Also the accessibility of the site's news on Twitter was ensured. We made some innovations to increase the functionality of the website, as a result of which the number of visits from mobile devices increased by 47 percent in 2018.

When we assumed the presidency of OANA, only 7-8 member agencies were posting their news on the website. By contacting each member agency and by sending them letters, we urged them to be more active. Most of them responded positively, which increased the number of news agencies constantly posting their news on the website to 24. The member agencies have posted over 500,000 news stories on OANA's website so far.

Of course, if all the members are active, the number of news will increase further. VNA is one of the most active members in this regard. The activity of your agency is an example to other agencies.

Reporter: The 44th OANA Executive Board Meeting will announce the winners of the organization’s "Excellence Award" contest. AZERTAC bids with a knowledge website for children at portal.azertag.az. How was the website built and what benefits has it generated?

Mr. Aslan Aslanov: "OANA Excellence Award" can be regarded as a factor stimulating the activities of member agencies in the terms of innovations. This is already the 3rd contest of its kind. Twelve agencies presented their projects this time, including the VNA, which also bids with a project based on the application of innovations.

AZERTAC's news portal for children is an education-oriented project stemming from the existing conditions created by internet technologies, that is, a requirement of time. However, it is a fact that along with its lots of benefits, the Internet has negative effects too.

Children are more likely exposed to the risk of being influenced by malicious factors in the era of mobile technologies. To protect them from these risks is becoming increasingly difficult. We therefore decided to produce news for children through a dedicated platform. 

Currently, both schoolchildren and parents show great interest in this portal. Because the content we post there is unique. Children also share their thoughts here and communicate with each other virtually. We publish their poems, paintings, and other creative works that are the product of children's imagination, and hold contests and quizzes.

The creative team of the portal holds meetings at schools and kindergartens, and organizes master classes for them. I believe that this helps us contribute to raising awareness of children, who are the future of society, increase their knowledge, and protect them from the risks caused by mobile technologies.-VNA