UNA hosts First Media Forum
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On May 16, 2020, the First Media Forum of the Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA) on “The role of news agencies in supporting efforts to confront coronavirus pandemic” was held via videoconference under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, Acting Minister of Media in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chairman of the Executive Council of the Union, in the presence of H.E. Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC); H.E. Dr. Bandar bin Mohammed Hamza Hajjar, President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group; H.E. Dr. Salim bin Mohammed Al Malik, Director General of Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO); and H.E. Mr. Zayed Sultan Abdullah, UNA Assistant Director.
The forum participants, which was also attended by the Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives of Member States to the OIC as well as Heads, Directors and Representatives of Member News Agencies in the OIC countries, emphasized the paramount importance of the media, particularly the official news agencies, in raising awareness and educating people on many issues that concern all humanity, such as climate change, the environment, and natural disasters, especially epidemics, as they will remain the main source of the flow of information and news items characterized by accuracy and credibility.
The pivotal role of official news agencies in the development process by highlighting the global efforts and the initiatives undertaken by international financial institutions and multilateral development banks in the first place to limit the spread of this pandemic and then mitigate its negative economic and social effects was noted.
It was also emphasized that the role of the Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA) is important in consolidating joint Islamic action, improving the media content that meets the aspirations of the peoples and governments of Islamic countries and providing distinct and diverse news services characterized by accuracy and objectivity.
The participants called for unifying and coordinating outreach efforts of member news agencies in the OIC countries and developing effective mechanisms for the exchange of successful media experiences and practices to maximize their utilization in the field of disseminating health policies and awareness instructions to confront the coronavirus pandemic, as well as to promote the exchange of news and media reports that achieve integration among Member States in the face of coronavirus and other crises.
The forum participants also called upon the member news agencies to engage in the practical and training programs and activities organized by the Union, as well as the forum programs and sessions, as well as the official news agencies to take the initiative and not miss the opportunity given amidst the coronavirus pandemic to restore their roles in which the so-called social media stars and citizen media (social networking sites) have been competing with them. This can be attained by further scientific qualification and continuous training for its specialized cadres, and enhancing creativity and innovation in various branches of media taking advantage of the opportunities provided by modern communication media and applications of broad access to the public and officials.
Member news agencies and the Union have been calling upon to provide support and assistance to the Palestine News and Information Agency (WAFA) and Palestinian media professionals who are suffering two pandemics simultaneously - the coronavirus pandemic and occupation pandemic.
The launch of the activities of the Union of OIC News Agencies, which target more than 2,000 media personnel in the OIC countries, was welcomed.