39th OANA Executive Board meeting Technical Committee meeting Republic of Korea, Seoul, 16-17 of November 2015

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Participants (OANA EBM members and observers):
Yonhap (South Korea), TASS (Russia), Azertaj (Azerbaijan), Anadolu Agency (Turkey), Press Association (United Kingdom), Reuters (United Kingdom), Xinhua (China), Kyodo (Japan), AAP (Australia), Bahrain News Agency, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Mehr News Agency (Iran), Antara (Indonesia), Bernama (Malaysia), Emirates News Agency (U.A.E), MONTSAME News Agency (Mongolia), Kazinform (Kazakstan), Vietnam News Agency (Vietnam), ATA (Albania), QNA (Qatar) and others.

Yonhap CEO and President Mr. Park No-hwang’s welcoming remarks at the opening of the 39th OANA Executive Board meeting.

Mr. Park No-hwang greeted the Executive Board and proceeded to the main issues.
He said that nowadays we were in the middle of a boom of mobile communications. The rise of mobile industry has greatly changed the public, news consumers and habits.
Yonhap CEO and President remarked that profitability of news agencies were declining every year. News agencies along with newspapers and broadcasting companies have faced challenges from newly emerging media outlets.

He added that it was time for news agencies to try to change themselves to survive.
Mr. Park No-hwang expressed his hope that news agencies of the Asia-Pacific region would be able to establish a comprehensive strategy to stay strong and competitive in a rapidly changing media market. He also said that cooperation among news agencies would bring the continuous and stable development.

Concluding his speech he said: “We expect your wisdom to turn crises into opportunity”.

OANA President, TASS Director General Mr. Sergey Mikhaylov’s opening address

Mr. Sergey Mikhaylov extended special thanks to the Republic of Korea’s leading news agency, Yonhap, for its hospitality and wished productive and informative discussions.

He dwelt upon some important decisions adopted at the previous meetings of the OANA Executive Board as the idea of introducing the OANA Award for Excellence in News Agency Quality. It will be conferred annually upon OANA’s individual journalists and teams of employees for exceptional achievements and better news services. “I do hope that it will serve as an extra incentive and platform for our effective cooperation” – Mr. Mikhaylov said.

OANA brought out its own ethics committee for providing assistance to and ensuring the rights of journalists to gain access to information - first and foremost in restive countries where the mass media are faced with restrictions. Among other things, they state that all contributions by reporters and correspondents should be verified and have authorized sources. Also, it is prohibited to edit photo images in a way that distorts the content. In accordance with the adopted ethical principles, we pledged to refrain from using any stories that might directly or indirectly facilitate the activity of terrorist organizations, as well as from using their rhetoric, jargon and symbols. “I believe that this Code will help all members of our organization to advance the traditions of tolerance in presenting information and bolstering OANA’s active role in maintaining stability, partnership and neighborliness in the Asia-Pacific region” – OANA President said.

Mr. Mikhaylov informed that with support from TASS, OANA’s web portal (oananews.org) has been developing pretty well. This year, the website underwent a fundamental upgrade and opening OANA’s official accounts in Facebook and Google Plus has proved a major stride towards expanding OANA’s presence at modern media forums.

In the conclusion OANA President noticed that stepping up of activities of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) is among the priorities of the 39th OANA Executive Board meeting in Seoul. "We are determined to step up OANA activities and enhance its role as the main inter-state mass media association in the Asia-Pacific region and to build up ties with other regional media organizations," Mikhaylov said. "In part, we are about to sign a memorandum of cooperation with the Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA). We have restored cooperation with the Alliance of Mediterranean News Agencies (AMAN). Also, we have been establishing contacts with the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) and the Latin American Union of News Agencies. We do hope it will be mutually beneficial and fruitful cooperation," said the OANA President.

EANA Chairman and CEO of Press Association Mr. Clive Marshall’s congratulatory remarks

Delivering his welcome remarks, Mr. Clive Marshall thanked CEO and President of Yonhap News Agency Mr. Park No-hwang and OANA President and TASS Director General Mr. Sergey Mikhaylov for inviting him to this event. He also thanked staff of Yonhap News Agency for fantastic organization of the 39th OANA Executive Board meeting.

Mr.Marshall said that he represented the European Alliance of News Agencies a group of 31 news agencies which was founded in 1956. He remarked that EANA and OANA had a cooperation Agreement which was signed in 2002 and expressed the willingness to update it.

Mr.Marshall also mentioned the terrible recent events in Senai, in Ankara, in Beirut and in Paris. He noted that they served to highlight that it was particularly always connected on social media world when the news was everywhere. He said about critical important role that the news agencies provide – they give costumers independent unbias news. President of the European Alliance of News Agencies stressed that in the world where “Facebook” and “Twitter” plays a great role, “News we learn from the News Agency is the tweet that we can trust”.

SIGNING OF COOPERATION AGREEMENT

I) Between Yonhap and Bernama
II) Between VNA and IRNA

39TH OANA EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING CHAIRED BY OANA GENERAL SECRETARY MR. MIKHAIL GUSMAN

1. OANA General Secretary stated the quorum is present and called for the adoption of the Agenda.
The agenda of 39th OANAS EBM was adopted.

2. Mr. Gusman called for the adoption of the minutes of the 38th Executive Board, Technical and Ethics Committees Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia held 14-15of February 2015.
Report of the 38th OANA meeting adopted.

3. OANA General Secretary called for adoption of the results of the first round and name the first winner of the OANA Award for Excellence in News Agency Quality.
According to the voting ballots of 12 from 13 OANA Executive Board members, including Australian Associated Press (AAP), Anadolu Agency (AA), Azerbaijan State Telegraph Agency AzerTAj (AZERTAC), Bernama (Malaysia), Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Kyodo (Japan), Montsame Agency, Russian News Agency TASS, Vietnam News Agency VNA, WAM (United Arab Emirates), Xinhua News Agency and Yonhap News Agency, Yonhap News agency wins OANA Award.
Congratulatory remarks.
The winner will receive a diploma and 1000 US dollars from OANA annual fee fund and will be invited to next OANA EBM, as on the OANA Award Statute adopted in Kuala Lumpur.

4. Yonhap News Agency proposed to sing the OANA Seoul 2015 Declaration. Mr. Gusman proposed to approved the contents.
OANA President proposed to add a point concerning report about terrorism regarding the recent terrorist act.
The whole content was approved and the proposal was supported without a single dissenting vote.

5. Director General of Bahrain News Agency BNA Mr. Muhannad Sulaiman Alnoaimi invited to organize FANA-OANA joint meeting in Bahrain in 2016 as well as next OANA EBM meeting.
It was agreed that BNA will host the next 40th OANA EBM and OANA-FANA join meeting in Spring 2016. The date will be defined after the consultations with FANA Management.

6. Mr. Gusman called to vote for new OANA member - Rossiya Segodnya International News Agency of Russia.
Rossiya Segodnya was accepted as a member of OANA.

COUNTRY REPORT SESSION

This meeting had as its central theme 'News Agencies in front of New Opportunities and Challenges amid the Boom in Mobile Communication', where it was recognized the need to strengthen cooperation as a way to survive and grow in the digital era.
Participants also spoke for increasing competitiveness and professionalism of its news agencies through the exchange of experiences as well as human and material resources. The issue of cooperation was widely approached as recognizing it as the way to overcome the challenges these media face, affected by the international economic crisis and being forced to assimilate the pace of the shift from traditional to digital platforms.

TECHNICAL COMMITTEE MEETING

Report presented by Mikhail Ivanov, TASS News Agency Technical Director (CIO):

1. TASS has been providing the technical support for OANA website (OANAnews.org)
2. In August 2015 OANA launched its Facebook and Google+ accounts.
3. Publication of information regulations development:

- In accordance with OANA development program we prepared and implemented social networks content Regulations.
 - Basing on the Regulations, the presiding agency synchronizes the materials of OANA website with social networks accounts.
 - Users were granted full access to premium content of website and social networks accounts to get full picture of OANA’s activities.

4. Based on development conception, the following website-related works have been carried out to implement new capabilities:

- Social network icons are added to the site
 - Premium Content check box is deactivated
 - New RSS stream is released
 - New filters are implemented for new RSS stream
 - The forum for authorized agencies is launched on OANA site
 - A new section-OANA Latest news is implemented on site
 - Migration of the website to the new server version is carried out

5. Final statements

- In accordance with the results of OANA development activities in the Internet, the main efforts will be used for the furtherance of social networks accounts.
 - The involvement of larger number of agencies in work with OANA’s internet resources will help the Organization to increase its presence in English-speaking segment of the Internet.
 - Using the new capabilities of website will help member-agencies to communicate closer with each other in comfortable conditions.

CLOSING CEREMONY
Signing of the Declaration

The 39th Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) Executive Board Meeting adopted and singed OANA Seoul 2015 Declaration. The declaration envisages expanding cooperation to maintain credibility of the member news agencies, especially in the age of mobile media. In the declaration, OANA condemned the recent terrorist acts and reaffirmed the commitment to report such facts accurately without fear or bias.
Thank you message by Yonhap President Park No-hwang

Farewell remarks by Yonpah President & CEO Mr. Park No-hwang

Mr. Park No- hwang said that during this year’s meeting, the participants have had a meaningful time sharing expectations, as well as worries, of global news agencies in the era of mobile media.

He expressed his hope for further development after witnessing the determination to do our duty of delivering accurate and reliable news rather than being daunted by the negative external environment, such as the declining media market and competition with new media.

Yonhap President noticed that the future of the Asia-Pacific region with the largest population and markets is the future of the world. News agencies in the region will soon emerge as driving forces in the global media market.

He thanked OANA EBM members and guests for the participation. “Your valuable opinion will serve as a beacon for the development of the global media market. I would like to wrap up my speech by wishing for the everlasting development of OANA” – he said.

Thank you message by AMAN (Alliance of Mediterranean News Agencies) Chairman, Albanian News Agency (ATA) Mr. Gezim Podgorica

Mr. Gezim Podgorica started his closing speech saying that he is extremely interested in promoting and extending the communication between our news organizations.
“We had Interesting contacts and discussions with the heads of the news agencies around the region; we extended the message and show common interest in communication with Asian news agencies”.

Mr.Podgorica noted that the Balkans today generated peace and stability and efforts were being made to promote growth and development, while good communication had been already established among the countries that make up the region. That is why the Balkan news agencies deserve to be further recognized and promoted. He also emphasized that to improve the productivity and quality of information consumers get, news agencies of the region were doing their best to achieve this goal while cooperation with OANA would help to accomplish this mission.

In conclusion, he said that he hoped OANA news agencies would become friends of the Balkans and friends of Albania in particular.

Thank you message by AZERTAC Director General Mr. Aslan Aslanov

Mr. Aslanov stated that we had interesting discussions about the trends and prospects of news agencies development.
Mr. Aslanov underlined that news agencies experienced the impact of social media and mobile technologies boost and what they had discussed during the OANA EBM was very important for further development.
He also thanked OANA management and Yonhap News Agency for arrangements made for EBM.
Then he marked recent great improvements concerning OANA internet site made during TASS presidency in the organization and thanked TASS team for this. “OANA web-site is a vital information resource that helps OANA news agencies to spread the news more quickly”, Mr.Aslanov said.
At the end of his speech, he said that he was looking forward to greeting OANA news agencies members at General Assembly meetings in Baku, Azerbaijan and hoped that they would be fruitful and productive.

Closing speech by OANA President and TASS Director General Mr. Sergey Mikhaylov

Mr. Mikhaylov summarized the final results of the meeting, saying that special emphasis was placed on the position of news agencies in the context of the mobile communications boom, and the appropriate Declaration was singed.

“Over the years, the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies has been able to prove that it is a good communications resource for handling professional tasks. As Korean wisdom says, a good ploughman’s soil is never bad. I am certain that all of us are excellent ploughmen and our joint efforts will be invariably fruitful. Let me wish you all successful work, professional achievements and good news” – he said.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

The meeting ended on a positive note with members agreeing to deliberate further on outstanding issues at the 40th OANA Meeting in Bahrein, in Spring 2016. The delegates too were pleased with the hospitality extended by their host, Yonhap News Agency, the main newswire in South Korea.