0248 GMT February 24, 2020
OANA head: Media bloc needs training center
Iranian Culture Minister Abbas Salehi urged an alliance of Asia-Pacific media outlets to keep up with the latest technology and use it for better dissemination of information.
“We live in an era in which the media need to redefine and reevaluate themselves in order not to lag behind science and technology. Therefore, reorganizing the mechanisms based on the new atmosphere of the communication world and social networks is an inevitable necessity,” Salehi said at the 43rd Executive Boards Meeting of Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) in Tehran.
He added that OANA, as an organization with lofty and independent goals, can significantly enhance synergy and solidarity of peoples and governments, IRNA reported.
“With this approach, OANA can increase regional and international convergence and cooperation in a bigger scope and challenge one-way and biased media mainstreaming or at least decrease its effects.”
“Drafting and adopting updated and effective programs by OANA member countries is an inevitable and serious duty, having short-term, medium-term and long-term plans can speed up the process of strengthening OANA and make it more harmonious,” said the minister.
OANA was founded in 1961 with the goal of facilitating information dissemination in the region, supported by the United Nations cultural entity, UNESCO.
Covering two thirds of the world population, the organization now has 44 members from 35 countries of Asia and Oceania.
As a long-standing member, Iran was its rotating president from 1997-2000.
Call for cooperation
Also addressing the forum, Seyyed Zia Hashemi, the head of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), called for cooperation among OANA members in order to turn challenges into opportunities
Hashemi said cooperation is the key to create opportunities out of a plethora of challenges the organization is facing.
Hashemi hailed the event as productive and hoped that the meeting could “contribute to the realization of the dignified goals of OANA in the future.”
He took a swipe at Western media, saying they were formed “in the context of colonial history.” Hashemi highlighted the need to end Western “information despotism” in the world.
“Dominance over media and news agencies has provided the big powers with a huge extraordinary might … to change beliefs and attitudes. These powers’ exploitation of the media has resulted in the emergence of a phenomenon which can be called information despotism.”
The IRNA chief said, as an independent organization with cultural and humane causes, OANA should play a more active role in the international arena by setting a new agenda and prioritizing training and using novel technology.
OANA chief Aslan Aslanov said the media bloc needs an academy to equip the members with the latest innovation and technical knowledge in face of new challenges.
Calling for educational forums and workshops to be held on the sidelines of OANA meetings in cooperation with non-OANA members, Aslanov, said the initiative then in the coming years can be turned into an OANA academy.
“We have to be fully equipped with technical knowledge and innovation in face of new challenges,” he said.
“We believe that such an initiative can help all members to benefit from the organization activities,” he said, suggesting that some part of OANA budget can be allocated to implementation of the initiative.
Aslanov, who is also head of the Azerbaijani news agency Azertac, suggested that a working group or committee be formed comprising of the executive board members to allocate the money.
He also called for reviewing the organization statute for modifying it in line with new developments.