Official news agencies should take lead in fight against COVID-19: UNA

UNA virtual meeting wants official news agencies to take lead in fight against COVID-19 (OIC)

UNA virtual meeting wants official news agencies to take lead in fight against COVID-19 (OIC)

By Habib Toumi

JEDDAH: Official news agencies should re-take the initiative amidst the coronavirus pandemic to restore their leading roles ahead of social media and citizen media (social networking sites), a media forum has said.

“This can be achieved through further qualification and continuous training for media staff and by enhancing creativity and innovation in various areas while taking advantage of the opportunities provided by modern communication and applications,” the Union of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) News Agencies (UNA) said.

The UNA held its first virtual media forum “The Role and News Agencies in Supporting Efforts to Confront Coronavirus Pandemic” in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

UNA also called upon the member news agencies to engage in the practical and training programs and activities organized by the Union, as well as in the forum programs and sessions.

Member news agencies in the OIC countries should unify and coordinate their outreach efforts and develop 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.

The news agencies should also promote the exchange of news and media reports to boost integration among member states as they face coronavirus and other crises, the communiqué said.

The forum emphasized the importance of the media, particularly the official news agencies, in raising awareness and educating people on many issues that concern all humanity, including climate change, the environment, and natural disasters, especially epidemics.

Media will remain the main source of the flow of accurate and credible information and news items, UNA said.

Official news agencies have a pivotal role in the development process by highlighting the global efforts and the initiatives undertaken by international institutions to limit the spread of this pandemic and then mitigate its negative economic and social effects.

The communiqué welcomed the launch of the activities of the Union of OIC News Agencies that target more than 2,000 media personnel in the OIC countries.

Founded in 1969, the OIC  comprises 57 member states with a collective population of over 1.9 billion.

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