Baku, May 16, AZERTAC
The Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA) has organized the first virtual forum entitled “The role of news agencies in supporting anti-coronavirus efforts”. Azerbaijan was represented at the event by member of the UNA Executive Council, Chairman of the Board of AZERTAC Aslan Aslanov.
Chaired by Acting Minister of Media of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chairman of the Executive Council of the Union of OIC News Agencies Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, the forum was attended by heads and representatives of news agencies from nearly 50 countries, including OIC Secretary General Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, President of the Islamic Development Bank Bandar bin Mohammed Hajjar, ICESCO Director General Salim bin Mohammed Al-Malik, UNA Assistant Director Zayed Sultan Abdullah, Chairman and Director General of Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) Sheikh Mubarak Ibrahim Al-Sabah and Executive Director of Emirates News Agency (WAM) Mohammed Jalal Al Raisi.
Addressing the forum, Aslan Aslanov said that the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the world doubles the responsibility of the media, including news agencies, which are the main source of information.
“In the current circumstances, news agencies have become one of the most effective crisis management. It is our agencies that provide information support to governments' anti-crisis strategies, contribute to the prevention of panic and stress, which are even more dangerous than the implications of the virus itself, and maintain people’s mental balance and comfort during the quarantine period. As you are well aware, misinformation creates tensions among people and causes confusion in society. Therefore, the fight against fake news in news agencies should become a key part of the fight against the virus.”
He said: “AZERTAC has introduced a special section on the fight against coronavirus. It covers the measures being taken by the Azerbaijani leadership and government in this area, as well as news reflecting the situation in this area in our country and around the world. In addition to covering other activities of official government agencies, our agency successfully provides multilingual information support for the activities of the Task Force for the fight against coronavirus, which has been set up under the Cabinet of Ministers. This section provides accurate and prompt updates on the experience gained in our country and the world in connection with the pandemic.
During the quarantine period, AZERTAC's website and its pages on social networks have been the main source of information not only for our citizens, but also for foreign nationals. As you probably know, many citizens of foreign countries, including those of Arab states, have stayed in Azerbaijan due to the closure of borders and the suspension of travel. They have been receiving information about the situation in our country from the news circulated by our agency in eight languages. In addition to combating fake news, our agency also carries out the necessary awareness-raising activities and disseminates information about the virus.”
“By the way, the exemplary Azerbaijani model of the fight against COVID-19, which is the result of the strategic vision of the President of Azerbaijan on the fight against coronavirus, is received with great interest in a number of countries. It is no coincidence that the analytical review prepared by AZERTAC on this topic, entitled “Great challenge and leader's rescue mission”, was published on 45 web resources in 23 countries, including the UNA website. This can be considered one of the best examples of our cooperation. The coverage by UNA member agencies of the summits of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States and the Non-Aligned Movement, both initiated by President Ilham Aliyev, is another noteworthy episode of our general information activities in the fight against the pandemic.
The pandemic has once again shown the value of the information provided by news agencies. During the quarantine regime, people turned to us for accurate information. Therefore, the importance of international organizations such as UNA, which unites national news agencies, is growing in such circumstances. I think that by creating a single information block in such critical times, we can spread accurate information about what is happening in our countries,” Chairman of the Board of AZERTAC Aslan Aslanov added.
The forum ended with the adoption of a joint statement, which emphasizes Azerbaijan`s support for the activities of the Union of OIC News Agencies.