Saudi minister chairs virtual news agency forum

 The Kingdom’s acting media minister, Majid Al-Qasabi, on Saturday chaired a virtual forum about the role of news agencies in supporting anti-coronavirus efforts, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Al-Qasabi is chairman of the executive council of the Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA), which hosted the forum to highlight the role of the agencies as reliable sources of information in spreading awareness about the coronavirus pandemic. 

The forum  provided an opportunity for the news agencies to exchange their experiences in disseminating knowledge and truthful information, in addition to combating fake news and rumors.

It was attended by the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen; the president of the Islamic Development Bank Group, Dr. Bandar Hajjar; the director-general of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Dr. Salim Al-Malik; the directors of news agencies in OIC countries, and permanent representatives to the OIC.

Al-Qasabi said that the world was experiencing unprecedented exceptional circumstances because of the coronavirus pandemic, which affected all aspects of life and required concerted efforts by the international community to find a vaccine.

Among the efforts was the call by Saudi Arabia to hold an extraordinary G20 summit to discuss ways of coordinating the global push to combat the pandemic.

Al-Qasabi launched the annual program of virtual activities and training, which will benefit 2,200 media professionals from OIC countries, during the forum.

UNA, formerly known as the International Islamic News Agency, is an OIC specialist institution that was set up more than four decades ago. It is headquartered in Jeddah and aims to highlight Islamic cultural heritage, enhance ties among OIC member states, advance professional links and technical cooperation among agencies, as well as promote Muslim awareness toward political, economic and social issues.