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Al-Qasabi opens UNA meet with stress on pivotal role of official news agencies
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 16 - 05 - 2020

The Acting Minister of Media and Chairman of the Executive Council of the Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA) Dr. Majid Bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, hosted Saturday the First UNA Virtual Forum, entitled "The Role of News Agencies in Supporting Anti-Coronavirus Efforts".
Al-Qasabi, while thanking the participants, said in his opening speech that the world is going through unprecedented exceptional circumstances because of coronavirus pandemic which has affected all aspects of life.
The pandemic has required concerted efforts by the international community to find a vaccine for this epidemic. Among these efforts is the call by Saudi Arabia for holding an extraordinary G20 summit last March to discuss means of coordinating global efforts to combat Coronavirus pandemic, Qasabi added.
The Forum was attended by Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef Bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group President Dr. Bandar Bin Mohammed Hajjar, Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) Director General Dr. Salim Al-Malik, and directors of News Agencies in the OIC countries, and permanent representatives to the OIC.
The Forum came to an end with the following statement:
• Emphasizing 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.
• Emphasizing 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.
• Emphasizing the importance of the role of the Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA) 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.
• Calling 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.
• Calling upon the news agencies and the Union to promote the exchange of news and media reports that achieve integration among member states in the face of coronavirus and other crises.
• Calling 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.
• Calling upon 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.
• Calling upon the member news agencies and the Union 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.
• Welcoming the launch of the activities of the Union of OIC News Agencies, which target more than 2,000 media personnel in the OIC countries.
• Appreciating the support and care of Saudi Arabia's Acting Minister of Media, Chairman of the Union Executive Council, Dr. Majid Bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, and OIC Secretary General, Dr. Yousef Bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen for the Union's projects and programs in favor of Member States in various aspects.
• Appreciating the announcement made during the forum by the President of the IsDB Group, Dr. Bandar Hajjar about the Group's willingness to enter into an effective extended partnership with the Union to activate cooperation through supporting the Union's development projects and programs by designing joint specialized training programs to prepare and qualify press and media cadres from member states, to enable them to carry out investigative journalism campaigns with high efficiency, and provide accurate and in-depth analyzes of the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to developing their capabilities and improving their skills in media coverage of issues related to the economy and development and facing disasters and epidemics.
• Extending thanks to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, for the support and sponsorship they provide to the Union of OIC News Agencies.
• Extending thanks to the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Arab Republic of Egypt, and the Republic of Azerbaijan for their support to the Union. — SPA

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