IRNA chief highlights role of media diplomacy in fostering coexistence, peace

Tehran, Sept 1, IRNA – Managing Director of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) has emphasized significant role of media diplomacy in bolstering peace and coexistence of human beings and societies.

Zia Hashemi made the remarks ahead of the 43rd Executive Board Meeting of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA), which is to be held in Tehran on Monday, September 3, 2018.

Hashemi outlined the philosophy of OANA existence, which is promoting unity, cooperation and collaboration among the media in eastern part of the globe in the face of the mainstream world media.

'Today, media diplomacy plays a more important role than the official diplomacy in promoting peace and coexistence,' Hashemi said.

He said that one of the main goals of OANA is endeavoring to bolster the authority and resilience of its members to pave the path for enhancement of political, economic and cultural power.

'To achieve this end, we as members of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies need to interact, cooperate closely and act in unison,' he said.

He went on to describe OANA as 'an invaluable' alliance that the United Nations and UNESCO contributed to its establishment and continuation of its activities.

'The Islamic Republic News Agency from the outset has been playing a key role in the OANA,' he added.

The IRNA chief also hailed the role played and still being played by major news agencies in the East from Russia to China, Turkey, South Korea and other member states to promote OANA goals.

Referring to the upcoming OANA meeting in Tehran, he said that the event will create an atmosphere and provide an opportunity for the member states to develop their cooperation.

'As development of such cooperation depends on growing understanding between the elite and the public, OANA again has a responsibility and a mission in this regard and it can assume a vital role,' he said.

The IRNA managing director also said that other goals the OANA Executive Board meeting is going to achieve, among other things, are higher motivations, reshaping mechanisms of current level of cooperation in order to recognize weaknesses and enhance points of strength and help formation of a new tide of cooperation among member states.

'Generally the main aim of such international organizations is strengthening unity, cooperation, mutual understanding and friendship among nations that will ultimately result in reinforcement of international ties among people and governments,' Hashemi said.

The media at first place is a cultural entity, he said, adding that culture has a pivotal role in forging political and economic developments.

'When there is accurate knowledge about the societies and right approach and view towards them, ground will be prepared for sound and productive cooperation in different political, economic and social fields,' he said.

'In the 21st century and today's world of communications and information, the media tend to be the harbinger of strengthening ties both within and outside societies and as precursor for formation of sound and productive knowledge, the media could constitute the basis for other types of collaboration that will ultimately bring forth political authority and social coherence and foster further cooperation and synergy,' he added.

In this way, he said, OANA could be considered as the heartland of unity and communications and a pivot of international synergy based in a vast geographical set of nations, which is going to influence the whole world.

Hashemi went on to say that the 43rd Meeting of the Executive Board of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies in Tehran provides Iran with an opportunity to show realities to the world.

'While Iran is under US brutal sanctions, and the mainstream world media, in pursuit of Washington's unilateral policies, are trying to portray a negative and unrealistic image of the nation, presence of the journalists from other countries in Iran will provide them with a chance to get familiar with the realities of today's Iran,' he said.

'Moreover, it tends to be a debacle for all the politically driven parties that, under the influence of the US unilateralism and political campaign against Iran, have forgotten their professional commitments and honesty and continue portraying an unrealistic image about Iran,' he added.

He said that the OANA meeting in Tehran also provides major news agencies in the eastern part of the world, including the Asia-Pacific region, to closely witness the achievements made by Iran as well as its security and capacities.

'They can see the attractions of the country, the social, and cultural privileges possessed by its people, its natural and cultural scenery and locations as well as the country's human potentials,' he said, stressing that this way, they can draw a comparison between what they observe and the unrealistic, fabricated image of Iran in the Western media.

The IRNA chief reiterated that the main goal Iran is following to achieve by hosting the OANA event is fostering more cooperation among member states of the organization.

'Our main goal is nothing but showing realities,' Hashemi said, adding that naturally Tehran can use the opportunity provided by participation of the OANA media managers and representatives in the event to reflect more accurate image of the realities of the country.

He said that based on its media diplomacy approach, enhancement of engagements with colleagues in other countries constitutes one of the key goals the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) is following to achieve and it tends to be the main concern of the Iranian official news organization.

'Based on our religious beliefs, national values and professional commitments, Iran follows to bolster peace, coexistence and friendship among human societies and world countries,' he said.

'We regard as a principle, fostering ties among nations in the East and we believe that promotion of peace, coexistence and friendship could positively affect welfare and coexistence of the human societies, especially the Eastern nations.'

Hashemi expressed hope that the OANA meeting in the Iranian capital could, in addition to developing bilateral and multilateral relations among the news agencies, pave the way for the media to do something to improve the dire situation in the Middle East.

'The Middle East, unfortunately, is under the influence of extremism and violence and world powers, directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, willingly or unwillingly have contributed and are contributing to formation and promotion of such trends,' he said, adding that the OANA members can seize the opportunity to address issues and predicaments faced by their nations and speak about their demands and problems.

He said that the upcoming OANA meeting is also expected to help enhance the status of the alliance as an important media organization in the world and the event is expected to open a new chapter in its activities.

'We hope to see IRNA as one of the founders of OANA and an old member, use the capacities of the organization and increase the number of its audience in a region home to around two-thirds of the world population,' he said.

'OANA as an alliance linking news agencies and the media tends to provide a ground for closer interactions between the societies and the public opinions;

'The main aim of the upcoming OANA meeting is to raise awareness about the regional issues through bolstering the media alliance and through fostering more synergy among member news agencies,' he said.

The managing director of IRNA, referring to the challenges posed by the Internet-based media, said emergence of the new Internet-based media and promulgation of the social media, have given the official media a new role.

'The official media can capitalize on the new capacities (provided by the internet-based and social media) to reinforce themselves,' Hashemi said.

'But to do so, they should be aware of the situation, they should be able to provide their staff with the necessary training to use the new technology and they should stage thoughtful planning to move on,' he stressed.

He said that the OANA meeting will also raise the issues concerning the challenges and new potential of the Internet-based and social media.

He expressed hope that the OANA members through brainstorming to represent breakthroughs and help open new horizons.

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