site.btaUPDATED BTA Director General at Delphi Economic Forum: News Agencies Must Guard Info Source from Disinformation, Be Free Source of Real News

BTA Director General at Delphi Economic Forum: News Agencies Must Guard Info Source from Disinformation, Be Free Source of Real News
BTA Director General at Delphi Economic Forum: News Agencies Must Guard Info Source from Disinformation, Be Free Source of Real News
Left to right: KosovaPress owner Skender Krasniqi, BTA Director Generak Kiril Valchev, AMNA President Aimilios Perdikaris, and EANA Secretary General Alexandru Ion Giboi, Delphi, April 13, 2024 (BTA Photo)

Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) Director General Kiril Valchev was among the participants in a discussion on Combatting Disinformation in a Multipolar World: Strategies, Tools and Challenges, held Saturday within the framework of the Delphi Economic Forum in Greece. In a parallel with Greek mythology, he argued in his remarks that news agencies must guard the source of information from disinformation and also be a free source of real news.

Also participating in Saturday's discussion were EANA Secretary General Alexandru Ion Giboi, AMNA President Aimilios Perdikaris, KosovaPress owner Skender Krasniqi, Agerpres Director General Claudia Victoria Nicolae, AFP Bureau Chief in Greece Yannick Pasquet, and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Federal News Agency Deputy Manager Ilija Musa.

In his speech, Valchev argued that news agencies need to change with new strategy and new instruments, as the world around them changes. He went on to catalogue nine things that they need to do.

First, news agencies should develop new funding models. “We have to find a new way to finance the battle of real news against fake news, which is free of charge. Should we remain silent when someone is telling lies unless someone else pays us to tell the truth? No, we need to find the balance between information as a human right and information for sale on the market. And we have to find how to respond to lying with more truth without depending only on customer's money, but also without media bans, social network restrictions and suspension of the Internet and mobile applications, because it may be possible for a short or a long time, but never forever,” Valchev argued. 

Second, news agencies should continue to follow professional standards. “We have to continue to provide facts before opinion because this is the standard of real news agencies. We must do very responsibly and ethically our work. It is also important not to spread propaganda, especially propaganda which supports wars and the violation of human rights,” the BTA Director General said.

Third, agencies should make better use of social networks instead of fighting for money with them. News agencies must be present everywhere on the Internet and in all forms - short news, photos, video, audio, infographics, he went on to say. “We should specifically note that we have to provide real news for young people with new formats and technologies. BTA is a good example with its presence not only on Facebook, X and LinkedIn, but also on Instagram, Tik Tok and Threads, which are used by the young,” Valchev said.

Fourth, artificial intelligence should be used, not feared. In his words, AI has great potential for fake news, but also for real news. News agencies can use them to improve their work: transcriptions, subscriptions, translations, creating data bases. “Using new technologies, we can guide people in the ocean of news and the best way to do this is to publish more news about science,” he noted.

Fifth, news agency should invest in training the people working for them. “Before we develop artificial intelligence, we must develop natural human intelligence. AI cannot replace the live reporter at the scene of events because artificial intelligence works with knowledge already accumulated in the past, but cannot reflect the news at the moment. New technologies can only complement journalists, not replace them. But we have to educate journalists how to use AI,” Valchev said.

Sixth, investing in the agencies’ archives and especially in their digitalization will allow the agencies to better present the background and context of the news. BTA has a paper archive from 1898 until the transition to electronic format and it is currently digitalizing it to make it easier to use, Valchev told the forum. “We must make sure that our news from today does not die, but is preserved for tomorrow. As Delphi preserves the archaeological remains, because the lessons of the past are useful for the present and the future,” he added.

Seventh, a working network for cooperation among national news agencies should be built. “This means publishing news from our countries not only from global agencies, but supplementing it every day with news exchanged by national agencies. Artificial intelligence can help us with this, but we need to build capacity with editors as well. This is important because the news agencies are responsible to give people from all over the world the opportunity to understand each other. Knowing each other and comparing to each other is not only an opportunity for profiting by using each other's good practices, but also a guarantee for peace. We may not agree with each other, but we must respect each other and find a way to live in peace together without starting wars. Peace should not be the result of war but of more information about each other. We need to guide people in the ocean of news so that they do not drown in it,” Valchev argued.  

Eighth, cooperation is needed between regional associations of news agencies, such as EANA and ABNA. The future of real news against disinformation depends on cooperation between news agencies from different regions of the world, Valchev said further. “We need to make a system in which independent agencies work closely together. More diverse information will also enable more on-demand sales, which is an opportunity to diversify revenue flows,” Valchev noted.

A ninth direction for the renewal of information agencies is the separation of the flows of official messages from the news of reporters. BTA has been doing this for two years, Valchev said. He specified that he added this ninth direction because of what EANA Secretary General Alexandru Ion Giboi said at the forum: that another problem for the media is official statements in which there are lies.

"Whether news agencies prove capable of change will depend on whether they remain Python-like guardians of the source of information or Apollo-like bearers of light with true news. But the best solution is for news agencies to be guardians of the source of information from misinformation and also be a free source of real news," Valchev concluded.

/DS/

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By 02:10 on 22.05.2024 Today`s news

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