Conference on "The Role of News Agencies in Time of Crisis" Officially Launched in Sofia

Conference on "The Role of News Agencies in Time of Crisis" Officially Launched in Sofia

Sofia, September 7 (BTA) - European democracy needs independent news agencies and we should fight for this freedom, European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) Secretary General Erik Nylen said. He was speaking at the official launch of a conference entitled "The Role of the News Agencies in Time of Crisis" at the BTA National Press Club in Sofia on Thursday. The event, which is taking place in Sofia and Nessebur (on the Black Sea) between September 7 and 11, is hosted by the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA).

There was hardly a time when there was such a need of news as it is now, and this is due to the constant crises, including the immigrant one in Europe, Nylen commented. He outlined two basic problems: the funding of journalism and the struggle for independence of news agencies. Many people want to exercise pressure on news reporting and we should fight for our independence and defend our copyright, the EANA Secretary General added.

"It is a fact that the crises are numerous, that they are a new phenomenon and that they change,"BTA Director General Maxim Minchev pointed out, noting that this faces the profession with new challenges along with the onset of the new technological age. In his words, 80 per cent of the world's information passes through the agencies, the rest is covered by TV, radio and the press. At the same time, the representatives of news agency journalism are the most anonymous representatives of the media because their names remain undisclosed and they are not as popular as their other colleagues, Minchev commented.

Aram Ananyan, Chairman of the General Assembly of the Black Sea Association of National News Agencies (BSANNA), pointed out that in the last two years the world has changed essentially and the opportunities journalism faces or uses have become quite different. He noted that the association was among the first to react to the attacks against "Charlie Hebdo" journalists. "We journalists can contribute to the solution of the problems, but our only goal is to provide the reports and uphold human rights," he commented.

The development of shared spaces of meaning and confidence is the greatest challenge before the work of contemporary media, political scientist Antonii Gulubov said. He pointed out that we are living in the conditions of a communication revolution, which is developing at an incomparable speed and scope, dozens of times faster than the industrial one. A large part of the phenomena of industrial society no longer exist in their former form and one of these is mass communication, he noted.

Gulubov also said that a crisis is impossible without media: there is no way it can become a crisis without that medium which connects the event with its audiences. He remarked on the importance of finding the reasons for a crisis, not only tracking its development. Any attempt to follow the logic of inception, counter-measures, crisis management and post-crisis restoration is unreadable for the mass reader, Gulubov said. He expressed hope that precisely news agencies are capable of systematizing and creating content, which at some point will help reconsider the crisis as a process.

The participants in the conference discussed hacker attacks as a new threat to media.

Mikhail Gusmann of TASS pointed out that hacker attacks and pseudo-information reports which are detrimental to media are increasing. In his opinion, some mechanism should be found to check reports. Today we are not protected precisely from the point of view of an attack on information, which is why we may not merit the role we have, the role of being reliable sources, Gusmann added. He also commented on social networks, which he considers a new reality, not media.

According to Alexandru Giboiот of Romania's AGERPRES, people are beginning to understand that social networks are not so much true media. In his words, the latest surveys have shown that the trend of social media becoming the main source of information is no longer as convincing as it was.

The new social media are not social, Gulubov said. They are tribunes, but they do not form a stage and the neighboring stage cannot be seen. They operate rather as individual points, but do not form a network. We have to turn back to the knowledge how a network medium functions, he added.

Agence France-Presse Regional Director Odile Duperry pointed out that no media can be everywhere at once, only agencies can achieve that.

The event is being held with the support of Mtel.

Source: Sofia