The 38th OANA Executive Board meeting 14th February 2015 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Participants:
Bernama (Malaysia), TASS (Russia), AAP (Australia), Azertac (Azerbaijan), Kyodo (Japan), MONTSAME News Agency (Mongolia), Yonhap (South Korea), Mehr News Agency (Iran), Antara (Indonesia), Emirates News Agency (U.A.E), Kazinform (Kazakstan), Vietnam News Agency (Vietnam), Anadolu Agency (Turkey), Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) and Bahrain News Agency.

Bernama’s General Manager Datuk Zulkefli Salleh’s welcoming remarks at the opening of the 38th OANA Executive Board Meeting.

He started by wishing “Selamat Datang” (Welcome) to the 32 delegates from 15 member agencies.
He referred to the ASEAN Community as a narrative for OANA in creating its own community of news agencies.
On the subject matter of the 38th OANA Executive Board Meeting “The Advent of Social Media and the Challenges Confronting News Agencies”, Datuk Zulkefli said the challenges posed by the social media were real and rapid.
He also pointed out to the delegates while there was no limitations on the Social Media content, news agencies were governed by ethics that puts emphasis on attribution, accuracy and legality.
Though news agencies have reached out to more people especially from the younger generation through the social media platform, more needs to be done.
He hoped that the executive board meeting in Kuala Lumpur would help delegates share their experiences and adopt best practices in moving ahead with social media.

TASS Director-General and OANA President Sergey Mikhailov’s remarks at the opening of the 38th OANA Executive Board Meeting presented by OANA Secretary General Mikhail Gusman

In his address Sergey Mikhailov extended his appreciation for Malaysia’s hospitality and thanked the delegates for their greetings to TASS which marked 110th anniversary last year.
He emphasized that throughout its more than 50-year-long history our organization has made a tangible contribution to promoting closer relations among our countries and to addressing a wide variety of social and cultural tasks.
He also shared his concern not only on the competition from the social media and world wide web, also on the dramatic events around the world that claimed the lives of civilians and journalists in line of duty.
The call for the media to provide authentic and truthful coverage is greater than ever before.

SIGNING OF COOPERATION AGREEMENT

I) Between Bernama and Vietnam News Agency (VNA)

Signatory for Bernama – Datuk Zulkefli Salleh (General Manager)
Signatory for VNA – Nguyen Duc Loi (General Director)

The Agreement formalizes a non-exclusive cooperation framework between both parties in information and high level correspondent delegation exchanges, mutual assistance to each other’s resident correspondents and exploring other possibilities that are mutually beneficial.

II) Between Bernama and Anadolu Agency, Turkey

Signatory for Bernama – Datuk Zulkefli Salleh (General Manager)
Signatory for Anadolu Agency – Mr Ercan Gocer (Head of International Relations) who represented AA’s Chairman of the Board Senol Kazanci)

The agreement allows news exchange and news coverage between both sides and other mutually beneficial arrangements.

38th OANA Executive Board Meeting Chaired by Mr. Mikhail Gusman

1. Mr Gusman called for the adoption of the mitutes of the 37th Executive Board, Technical and Ethics Committees Meeting in Manama, Baharin held 16-17 June 2014.

Report of the 37th OANA meeting adopted.

2. The draft OANA Code of Practice and Editorial Guidelines. It was pointed out by AAP that that cultural norms and sensitivities that was raised during the Bahrain meeting has been taken into account in the draft.
Anadolu’s representative suggested that OANA should add to its code of conduct that members act in solidarity in rebuking acts of aggression against member news organizations and journalists on the premise of press freedom.
The meeting agreed with Anadolu’s position but felt the code of conduct would suffice in dealing with the problem.

OANA Code of Practice and Editorial Guidelines was approved.

3. Suggestions of Advancement and Refreshment of OANA’s Activity
Mr. Mikhail Gusman acknowledged that OANA has been getting constant feedback and ideas on refreshing and improving its activities from members.

The feedback and ideas are being looked into.

4. Mr. Mikhail Gusman drew the board’s attention for an OANA annual excellence award similar to the European Alliance of News Agencies’ (EANA) Award for Excellence in News Agency Quality.
Board members showed mixed reaction with TASS, Antara, Anadolu and Azertac welcoming the idea as it provides recognition for members and enhance the visibility of OANA.
Kyodo was concerned as there is a disparity in the editorial standards among member news agencies. There were also concerns over what guidelines and standards to be considered in judging the award recipients.
IRNA supportive of the idea and believed any shortcoming can be addressed through feedback from members.

The meeting concurred the award programme will be rolled out. It would be fined tuned by members along the way until it achieved the desired results.

5. Draft Memorandum of Understanding Between Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA) and OANA
It was pointed out by Anadolu at the meeting that the MoU is important as it complements OANA’s goals.
Anadolu also believes similar cooperation should be established with Latin American News Agencies to extend OANA’s outreach.
Anadolu also suggested that by establishing cooperation the websites of FANA and others can be added to OANA’e website through banners or hyperlink.
Mr. Mikhail Gusman pointed out while this might be a good idea it called for additional funding something that has to be dwelt into further.

6. Memorandum of Understanding between FANA and OANA was approved.

7. Bahrain News Agency BNA invited to organize FANA-OANA joint meeting in Bahrain in 2016.

8. It was agreed that Yonhap News Agency will host the next 39th OANA EBM.
Mr. Oh Jae-seok, Managing Director of Yonhap News Agency addressed to OANA Executive Board members with acceptance speech.

9. Rossiya Segodnya International News Agency of Russia is seeking membership in OANA.
Bernama pointed out under Statute 2, as long as long as there is no objection from a member news agency from the same country, there is no problem in joining OANA.
Mr. Mikhail Gusman said TASS has no objection of Rossiya Segodnya’s participation in OANA.

Rossiya Segodnya International News Agency’s membership status will be decided in the next meeting.

COUNTRY REPORT SESSION

Meeting Chaired by Mr. Mikhail Gusman resumes with the presentation of country reports by AAP, TASS, Azertac, Kyodo, MONTSAME, Yonhap, Mehr News Agency, Antara, Emirates News Agency, Vietnam News Agency, Islamic Republic News Agency, Anadolu Agency and Bernama.
Members reported of the tremendous growth of new media including social media and the new challenges that it posed to the news agencies. All members in principle agreed that they have to adopt the social media to extend their outreach to the new generation audience.
Some members also cautioned that in the haste of chasing after the social media, news agencies should not compromise on the reliability of the information that they provide, the pillar of news agencies and the one that differentiates between news agencies and much of social media.

TECHNICAL COMMITTEE MEETING

Report presented by Mikhail Ivanov , TASS News Agency Technical Director (CIO)
- TASS has been providing the technical support for OANA website (OANAnews.org)
- Has attended to Drupal platform’s systemic flaws
- Portal’s information security enhanced
- Search engines the main source of website traffic
- Antara and Bernama important sources of traffic for OANA website
- Key findings a) 270 unique visitors to the site daily, b) core readership at 22 percent only, c) 71 percent leave the same page they entered and d) 90 percent access the website through their PC

More than 30 proposals have been received from members for website upgrading and being studied by a think-thank of TASS specialists.

Long term development plans are on the cards that will not only enhance the portal readership qualitatively and quantitatively, but also help develop the B2B segment.

Social Network

OANA accounts will be created in two social networks - Facebook and Google+ . This will allow the organisation represent its activity to a wider target audience.

The social networks could help present the organisation’s activities in a better way and determine the long term strategy and tactics.

Member recommendations on the technical matter

A user friendly system is needed to upload and download member agency content on OANA website.

Members have to evaluate themselves the type of content that they are going to upload, in another words filtering is critical.

In upgrading the website long term implications have to be considered as the website hosting changes with change in OANA chair.

It was also suggested that the OANA website serves as a gateway to member websites.

The multiple mirror sites of the OANA portal be established, with member agencies also hosting the site through their own serves or through cloud applications.

Thus if the server of a particular host is down, the others could back up.

An electronic platform for the proposals about development of OANA website and their discussions could be established.

Recommendations have been noted by the Technical committee.

SIGNING OF COOPERATION AGREEMENT

I) Signing of agreement between Anadolu Agency and
MONTSAME News Agency (Mongolia).

Signatory for Anadolu Agency – Mr. Ercan Gocer (Head of International Relations)
Signatory for Montsame – Mr. Batbold Shoovdor (Deputy Director)

The agreement allows news content exchanges and etc.

II) Between OANA Secretariat and Yonhap
Signatory for OANA Secretariat Mr. Mikhail Gusman (OANA Secretary General)
Signatory for Yonhap Mr. Oh Jae-seok (Managing Director)

The agreement paves the way for Yonhap to host the 39th OANA Board Meeting in Seoul, South Korea in Nov 2015.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

The meeting ended on a positive note with members agreeing to deliberate further on outstanding issues at the 39th OANA Meeting in Seoul, South Korea in Nov 2015. The cornerstone of this meeting is the introduction of the news agency quality excellence award. The delegates too were pleased with the hospitality extended by their host, Malaysian National News Agency Bernama.