Social Media Important But Can Also Be Dangerous - OANA Sec-Gen

Last update: 15/02/2015

By Azzah Mohamad Som

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 15 (Bernama) -- Organisation of Asia Pacific News Agencies (OANA) Secretary-General, Mikhail Gusman, while agreeing that social media plays an important role in today's landscape, also feels that it could be "dangerous" due to the lack of rules in the area.

"Because we have yet to have rules in this area on how to work with social media, that could be dangerous," he told a press conference on the last day of the three-day 38th OANA Excutive Board Meeting here today.

Gusman said that news agencies needed to be professionally prepared to coordinate their professional and background experience with new technologies and social media, noting that caution was needed in using social media.

Meanwhile, Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) General Manager Datuk Zulkefli Salleh said that social media was a useful medium to disseminate information but pointed out that some news and information on social media were not verified.

On the other hand, he said news agencies provided factual news apart from being credible and governed by ethics.

Zulkefli said that delegates who attended the OANA Executive Board Meeting agreed that news agencies needed to embrace social media, pointing out that the meeting themed "The Advent of Social Media and Challenges Confronting News Agencies" was to renew that commitment.

"Everybody agrees that we cannot fight the social media, because it's very widespread, but the only way is to embrace it and start using it to disseminate news and information to reach out to the people," he said.

Zulkefli also said that readers have the choice whether they wanted verified news from their new agencies and other media organisations or to believe the social media's unverified news.

Gusman, when asked on how OANA could play a role in supporting Malaysia as ASEAN chairman this year, said that Bernama could publish information regarding ASEAN's activities and Malaysia's role on the OANA website.

"ASEAN is a very important organisation, we fully respect the position of Malaysia in ASEAN. ASEAN is important for OANA too," Gusman, who is also Russia's TASS news agency First Deputy-Director General, said.

The meeting, hosted by Bernama, was participated by some 40 chief executive officers and top officials from OANA.

The executive board members and editorial and technical committees members who participated were from Russia's TASS news agency, China's Xinhua, South Korea's Yonhap, Indonesia's Antara, Emirates News Agency (WAM), Vietnam News Agency (VNA), Bahrain News Agency (BNA), Iran's IRNA, Turkey's Anadolu, Iran's Mehr News Agency (MNA), Mongolia's MONTSAME, Australian Associated Press (AAP), Azerbaijan's AzerTAc, Kazakhstan's INA kazinform and Bernama.

OANA was formed in 1961 on the initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to secure direct and free exchange of news among the news agencies of a region inhabited by more than one half of the world's population.

The organisation's 44 news agencies from 35 countries are responsible for two-thirds of information circulated throughout the world.