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Asia-Pacific news agency chiefs open Seoul session

Representatives of 32 news agencies in 28 countries gather at Lotte Hotel in central Seoul

WT24 Desk

Leaders of key news agencies in the Asia-Pacific region opened a two-day conference in Seoul on Thursday to discuss ways to cope with changing media landscapes and promote mutual exchanges and partnerships, Agencies report.

Representatives of 32 news agencies in 28 countries, including three observer companies, gathered at Lotte Hotel in central Seoul for the 17th Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) General Assembly.

OANA, which was formed in 1961 on the initiative of UNESCO to promote regional news exchanges, has held its general assembly every three years. A total of 43 news agencies, including United News of Bangladesh, a Bangladeshi private sector news agency, from 35 Asia-Pacific countries, are members of the organization.

Members include South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, China’s Xinhua News Agency, Japan’s Kyodo News and TASS Russian News Agency. North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency is also a member but did not attend this year’s meeting.

This year, participants will take part in three panel sessions under the theme “New Challenges for Journalism: Technological Innovations and Issues of Trust” to discuss how technological developments and issues such as fake news and misinformation will impact journalism.

“News agencies around the globe face unprecedented challenges that they must turn into new opportunities. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality and machine learning have entered our newsrooms as technology makes advancements in leaps,” Yonhap News CEO Cho Sung-boo said in his opening remarks.

“We have to constantly create new contents in new forms. The question is not just what news we distribute but how we distribute it. The difficulty is that all these tasks must be done simultaneously, and with speed,” Cho said.

“At a time when streams of information flow quickly along a variety of channels, the mission of news agencies is becoming increasingly complicated. The opportunities generated by social networks and mobile technologies are open not just to us but to everyone else. This leads to a rapid increase in the number of news channels, which cannot but affect us,” said OANA President AslanAslanov, who also doubles as Chairman of the Board at AZERTAC, Azerbaijan’s state news agency.

“Striving for fair and factual reporting, the mission of journalism, and earning public trust are noble pursuits for the global community to march forward in a healthy and harmonious way, regardless of the country or society,” Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Park Yang-woo said.

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