JEDDAH – The role of the media is paramount in combating the spread of coronovirus and disseminating information to the masses about the various preventive measures the authorities are adopting from time to time.
The emphasis on the effective media role was enshrined in the final communique issued after the first virtual meeting of the Media Forum of the Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA) held here on Saturday (May 16) entitled
“The Role and News Agencies in Supporting Efforts to Confront Coronavirus Pandemic.”
Held under the patronage of Dr. Majid Bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, Acting Minister of Media in Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Executive Council of the Union, the meeting was also attended by Dr. Yousef Bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC); Dr. Bandar Bin Mohammed Hamza Hajjar, President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group; Dr. Salim Bin Mohammed AlMalik, Director General of Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO); and Zayed Sultan Abdullah, UNA Assistant Director.
Also in attendance were the Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives of OIC Member States as well as heads, directors and representatives of Member News Agencies in the OIC countries.
The final communique stressed on the paramount importance of the media, particularly official news agencies, in raising awareness and educating people on many issues of concern to all humanity, such as climate change, environment, 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 communique emphasized the pivotal role of official news agencies in the development process by highlighting global efforts and initiatives launched by international financial institutions and multilateral development banks to limit the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and then mitigate its negative economic and social effects.
It emphasized 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.
The communique called upon the news agencies and the Union to promote the exchange of news and media reports that achieve integration among Member States in tackling coronavirus and other crises.
In view of the disastrous consequences of COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting called upon the official news agencies to grab the initiative and not miss the opportunity to restore their roles wherein they are facing a stiff challenge from different social media tools and social networking sites. 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 alike.
The communique called 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 simultaneously suffering two pandemics; coronavirus pandemic and illegal occupation of their homeland.
The meeting appreciated the support and care of Saudi Arabia’s Acting Minister of Media, Chairman of the Union Executive Council, Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, and OIC Secretary General, Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen for the Union’s projects and programs in favor of Member States in various aspects.
It also appreciated the announcement of 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 its 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 analyses of the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The final communique appreciated and thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, for the support and sponsorship they have been providing to the Union of OIC News Agencies. Finally, the meeting thanked 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.