Vietnamese, Malaysian national news agencies can learn each other: BERNAMA leader hinh anh 1VNA Director-General Vu Viet Trang (R) and Bernama Editor-in-Chief Khairdzir Md Yunus exchange the professional cooperation agreement in March 2022 (Photo: VNA)
Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – The national news agencies of Vietnam and Malaysia - Vietnam News Agency (VNA) and BERNAMA - can learn from each other as they move forward in the changing media environment, BERNAMA CEO Roslan Ariffin told VNA in Kuala Lumpur.

Ariffin noted that the two news agencies signed their first news exchange agreement 40 years ago on December 8, 1982, which was renewed thrice in 1991, 2015, and 2022. The agreement has facilitated the flow of news between the two countries, providing the two peoples with ample information to enable them to have a correct perspective of developments in either nation, whether it is political, economic or social.

The official said that the Malaysian national news agency had stationed a correspondent in Hanoi from January 1994 to March 1998 when it had to close its Hanoi office following the Asian financial crisis. BERNAMA is considering the reopening of the office, he said, expressing his delight that the VNA has been running a bureau in Kuala Lumpur.

In reporting and disseminating news and information about the two countries, it is advisable to be guided by the Vision of ASEAN Connectivity 2025 of “creating a regional network of people and infrastructure to improve the way we live, work and travel,” he said.

Vietnamese, Malaysian national news agencies can learn each other: BERNAMA leader hinh anh 2An overview of the talks between VNA Director-General Vu Viet Trang and Bernama Editor-in-Chief Khairdzir Md Yunus in March 2022 (Photo: VNA)
In order to further enhance the understanding between the two peoples, he suggested the two countries learn more about each other. This can be achieved by providing more content on the political, economic and social developments in either country via wire service text and photographs, videos, graphics, and social media platforms.

Secondly, the two sides should encourage their people to travel to the other country to have their own experience. It is necessary to produce text and visual content on the cultural and tourism trends of the two countries in a more consistent manner, not just on a temporary basis. The tourist attractions can be promoted on social media platforms, he said.

Thirdly, the two sides should identify and highlight opportunities for the two peoples to venture into business in the other country. The goal of ASEAN economic cooperation is to create a stable, prosperous and highly competitive economic region, he underscored.

Ariffin proposed that BERNAMA and VNA should consider enhancing the relations in news exchange through joint training and programmes.
Regarding fake news, the BERNAMA CEO said that it has become a major problem of the modern society, including Malaysia. He said that BERNAMA has set up its own fact check unit called MyCheck Malaysia that helps to clarify content suspected to be fake news, disinformation for misinformation.

Between 2020-2022, MyCheck provided clarification for 215 contentious pieces of content widely shared by netizens, 15 of them relating to COVID-19 and 22 to politics.

“We believe that bilateral and multilateral news exchanges are also vital in addressing cross-border fake news. While we may be able to verify fake news within our borders, it may not be that easy to do so if the take news originates in another country. This is where news exchange comes in handy,” he stated.

BERNAMA is also working on having some form of arrangement with key organisations to educate the public on identifying fake news and stop spreading it, the official added./.