World’s leading media outlets again come together to discuss their contemporary and future challenges. And this time the venue was Baku, a worldwide-recognized platform for fruitful and efficient exchange of views.
Almost 200 guests from 80 countries representing more than 100 leading news agencies of the world from five continents attended the 5th News Agencies World Congress in the Azerbaijani capital, also confirming the activity and achievements of the young democracy in developing the independent media.
Acting under the slogan “New Challenges for News Agencies”, the Baku Congress offered a unique chance to eye not only the challenges, but also opportunities for journalism today, to debate the state of the media in the world, and the role of the news agencies in it, and search for ways which enable freedom of expression to flourish.
The Congress featured several sessions, including “The future of news consumption”, “News agencies – challenges and opportunities of new technologies and social media”, “News agency innovation”, “Training journalists for a multi-media future”, “Protecting the journalists’ mission: freedom, access, safety and conflict zones”, while addressing problems facing journalism, which is now experiencing rapid transformation, and forms of cooperation between news agencies and different social media platforms.
One of the key priorities of the Baku Platform was to ensure a joint work to strengthen freedom of expression, boost the free flow of news and to support professional journalism.
Today, media is going through a time of huge transformation worldwide. These changes are mainly driven by technology and social changes, where media channels are becoming more important and the media consumer is more empowered than ever before. Today, the news agencies need to find new methods to deliver information to masses, while news agencies are facing the big competition from social networks and people are increasingly turning to them for information.
The application of technological invocations and spread of social media have good opportunities to boost the role of media, but here the opportunities must be combined with the responsibility and a professional approach to deliver quality information.
The media should remain loyal to its main principles, the core of which is unbiased and reliable source. But one thing is abundantly clear when identifying the key issues for the media industry and setting the priorities, universal values should be kept in media for the sake of humanity.
The challenge for traditional media is to retain its position as a source of reliable information gathered and disseminated professionally. Media ethics should be observed while serving increased information that the society needs.
There must be a very serious, detailed analysis of the role of the media in international events because the role of the media is growing day after day, and so grows responsibility, said President Ilham Aliyev, addressing the opening session in Baku.
Pointing to issue of media coverage of global events, President Aliyev stressed the necessity of support from the media, news agencies and other media in the promotion of values of cooperation is very important, while it will give politicians more chances to advocate for universal values.
Voicing regret over politically motivated media coverage of some events, President Aliyev voiced support to free media, saying “we all need to have true information, especially, countries like Azerbaijan that for 70 years lived in Soviet Union where there was only one official policy, one ideology, and we did not have access to any information.”
Traditional and new media are essential to the rule of law, good governance and democracy, while freedom of expression and the media are essential to global roadmap for development.
Baku has always been standing by all efforts serving the international dialogue, confirming that the country is keen in this global gathering to support cooperation, exchange experience and enhance the actions for achieving the strategic aims of the News Agencies World Congress.
Azerbaijan ensures freedom of media as well as other fundamental freedoms, and the national media consistently seeks to move forward and cope with the challenges while adhering to principles of credibility, objectivity and ethics of the profession.
In Baku, the congress participants highlighted problems that the press has overcome during the transitional period, while seeking cooperation and information sharing among news agencies as well as new media initiatives.
The next important topic envisaged measures to train young workforce and encourage startups with modern communication initiatives, as well as the protection of reporters during their operation.
The Baku Congress made a powerful stress on the necessity of ensuring the safety of journalists while on duty and importance of commitment by international, regional and national media outlets to the fundamental principles further elaborating that freedom of the press is essential for media performance.
The final declaration underlined that respect for human values, human dignity, the rule of law, justice, equality, racial, ethnic and cultural diversity are of critical importance at a time of transformation period and important factor in the activity of the media. The participants further called on joint action in the fight against plagiarism and copyright infringement, and spread of false or biased information.