VNA leader suggests ways to win public trust in battle with fake news

Vietnam News Agency (VNA) General Director Nguyễn Đức Lợi (right) received an Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) award from outgoing OANA President Aslan Aslanov at the 17th OANA General Assembly in Seoul on Friday. The Vietnam News Agency and Xinhua News Agency (China) shared first prize of the OANA Award for Excellence in News Agency Quality for their Chatbot apps on e-newspaper VietnamPlus and AI Media Brain. — VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Hùng

SEOUL — General Director of the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) Nguyễn Đức Lợi has highlighted the need to win public trust in the fight against fake news.

Lợi yesterday addressed the 17th General Assembly of the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agency (OANA) that is taking place in the Republic of Korea (RoK) from November 6-9.

In his presentation, he said fake news continues to be a major concern for news agencies and media outlets around the world – and the VNA is no exception.

Fake news has come in a more sophisticated manner as technology develops and cost reduces, he said.

“Experts have predicted that as artificial intelligence is applied widely in the process of producing media content, fake news made by machines will also be born with overwhelming quantity,” Lợi noted.

He called on journalists to act instead of waiting for agencies to promulgate new laws, for technology firms to change algorithms, or for users to become better at distinguishing fake news, as they bear heavy responsibility for society.

Lợi cited many studies on the future of the press showing that the goal of the press now is not to attract public attention any longer, but to regain their trust.

“How to rebuild public trust in high quality press content is always a big question for managers, news agencies, editorial offices and journalists themselves,” he said.

According to the VNA leader, to combat fake news, his agency has worked hard to interact with leaders through the Chatbot software that won the OANA Award for Excellence in News Agency Quality in 2018.

He suggested news agencies act to cope with information that incites hatred and racial discrimination or distorts the truth to harm individuals, organisations and countries, apart from pouring more investment into technology to produce high-quality news.

In his remarks, Cho Sung-boo, President and CEO of the host country’s Yonhap News Agency, said global news agencies are facing unprecedented challenges, and they should turn these into new opportunities.

He also called on news agencies to continuously make new products in new forms, and revamp the ways they deliver them.

At a working session on Friday, OANA member news agencies elected Yonhap as OANA Chair for 2019-2022. This is the first time the news agency has held the position since its establishment in 1980.

News agencies from Azerbaijan (AZERTAC), Russia (TASS), Turkey (Anadolu) and China (Xinhua) will assume the post of OANA Vice Chairs.

The 17th General Assembly also elected the OANA Executive Board with 13 news agencies, the Technical Committee comprising of seven news agencies and a four-member ethics committee for 2019-2022. The VNA again won a seat on the OANA Executive Board.

The WAFA News Agency of Palestine has become an observer of the organisation.

OANA members agreed to adopt the minutes amending the OANA Statute, which was approved at the 44th Executive Board Meeting in Ha Noi in April.

In the Seoul Declaration adopted at the meeting, the agencies pointed out challenges they are facing amidst the development of technology and the spread of fake news.

On this occasion, the 45th and 46th meetings of the OANA Executive Board were also held in Seoul.

The Executive Board elected Lee Dong-min, a journalist of Yonhap, as OANA Secretary General.

Within the framework of the 17th General Assembly, the VNA and Xinhua, first-prize winners of the OANA Award for Excellence in News Agency Quality as announced at the 44th Executive Board Meeting, were honoured.

On the sidelines of the event, VNA General Director Lợi met with Yonhap President and CEO Cho, who said he highly valued the fruitful relations between the two news agencies.

The host expressed his hope for more support and co-operation from the VNA in the future.

Lợi said the relationship with Yonhap was one of the most successful, effective and diverse ties between the VNA and its partners.

The VNA’s VNEWS TV Channel and e-newspaper were using effectively TV news of Yonhap, he said, calling on the agency to produce and share news of more diverse content in both Korean and Vietnamese with the VNA.

OANA now has 44 member news agencies from 35 countries in the region. The agencies are responsible for two-thirds of information produced throughout the world. Every day, they publish around 200 news stories, photos and video clips on the OANA website http://www.oananews.org.

Since joining the OANA in 1969, the VNA has proven itself as one of the active members of the organisation. It is now a member of the OANA Executive Board, and hosted the OANA Executive Board Meetings in 1989, 1999, 2005 and 2019, actively contributing to completing the organisation’s targets. — VNS

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