Importance of news agencies in boosting public awareness of vital issues: First Media Forum of Union of OIC News Agencies

The Forum convened in Jeddah today via video conferencing under the title "The Role and News Agencies in Supporting Efforts to Confront Coronavirus Pandemic"


JEDDAH- The First Media Forum of the Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA) emphasised the paramount importance of the media, particularly the official news agencies, in raising awareness and educating people on many issues that concern all humanity.

The Forum convened in Jeddah today via video conferencing under the title "The Role and News Agencies in Supporting Efforts to Confront Coronavirus Pandemic" under the patronage of Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, Acting Minister of Media in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chairman of the Executive Council of the Union.

In its final communique, the Forum underscored the pivotal role of official news agencies in the development process by highlighting the global efforts and the initiatives undertaken by international financial institutions and multilateral development banks in the first place to limit the spread of this pandemic and then mitigate its negative economic and social effects.

It underscored the importance of the role of the Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA) in consolidating joint Islamic action, improving the media content that meets the aspirations of the peoples and governments of Islamic countries, and providing distinct and diverse news services characterized by accuracy and objectivity. The forum called for unifying and coordinating outreach efforts of member news agencies in the OIC countries and developing effective mechanisms for the exchange of successful media experiences and practices to maximise their utilisation in the field of disseminating health policies and awareness instructions to confront the coronavirus pandemic.

It urged news agencies and the Union to promote the exchange of news and media reports that achieve integration among Member States in the face of coronavirus and other crises, calling upon the member news agencies to engage in the practical and training programs and activities organized by the Union, as well as the forum programmes and sessions. The forum also called upon the official news agencies to take the initiative and not miss the opportunity given amidst the coronavirus pandemic to restore their roles in which the so-called social media stars and citizen media (social networking sites) have been competing with them.

This can be attained by further scientific qualification and continuous training for its specialized cadres, and enhancing creativity and innovation in various branches of media taking advantage of the opportunities provided by modern communication media and applications of broad access to the public and officials. It urged the member news agencies and the Union to provide support and assistance to the Palestine News and Information Agency (WAFA) and Palestinian media professionals who are suffering two pandemics simultaneously - the coronavirus pandemic and occupation pandemic.

The statement welcomed the launch of the activities of the Union of OIC News Agencies, which target more than 2,000 media personnel in the OIC countries and appreciating the support and care of Saudi Arabia's Acting Minister of Media, Chairman of the Union Executive Council, Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, and OIC Secretary General, Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen for the Union's projects and programs in favor of Member States in various aspects. It also appreciated the announcement made during the forum by the President of the IsDB Group, Dr. Bandar Hajjar about the Group’s willingness to enter into an effective extended partnership with the Union to activate cooperation through supporting the Union's development projects and programmes by designing joint specialised training programmes to prepare and qualify press and media cadres from Member States, to enable them to carry out investigative journalism campaigns with high efficiency, and provide accurate and in-depth analyses of the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to developing their capabilities and improving their skills in media coverage of issues related to the economy and development and facing disasters and epidemics.

The forum extended thankfulness to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, for the support and sponsorship they provide to the Union of OIC News Agencies. It also expressed appreciation to the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Arab Republic of Egypt, and the Republic of Azerbaijan for their support to the Union.

© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2020.

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