Minutes of 47th OANA Executive Board Meeting

The 47th OANA Executive Board meeting was held through e-mail communication among board members after the meeting initially scheduled in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The OANA Secretariat circulated the draft agenda of the meeting to all board members and received their ideas and recommendations via e-mail.

IRNA, TASS, VNA and Xinhua (listed in alphabetical order) have given their remarks to the proposed agenda.


[Approval of minutes of the 45th EBM in Seoul on Nov. 7, 2019, and 46th EBM in Seoul on Nov. 8, 2019]

The minutes were approved.

However, there was an opinion from Xinhua on a proposal made at the 45th EBM to add a new provision to the Statute, whereby the outgoing OANA President becomes a Vice President, and the other three Vice Presidents are represented in chronological sequence of the last three agencies-presidents of OANA instead of through voting.

Xinhua proposed that the incumbent OANA President become the Vice President for the following term, while three other Vice Presidents are chosen by voting.

The secretary-general (SG hereafter) asked board members to continue to send their opinions/remarks on this issue to the OANA Secretariat in order to conduct thorough discussions on the matter. SG said she will inform the board of the results of the discussions at the next EBM.

[Udates to OANA website]
"OANA News" section was added to the top menu bar to show news about OANA member agencies. OANA members are invited to share news about their agencies (changes in contact information, change in leadership, founding anniversaries, etc) by forwarding them to the OANA Secretariat, who will post it on the website.

[Uploading of photo and video news]
SG asked all OANA members to refer to the manuals sent in March and actively upload photo and video news.

SG reminded member agencies that only news articles with photos attached can be placed as top news on the website. SG requested that to give the articles the spotlight they deserve, member agencies should make sure to accompany articles with related photo(s).

VNA proposed that member agencies review the effectiveness of the OANA website and give their ideas about the news portal.

TASS noted that news from the OANA website are regularly published on Twitter, but not on the Facebook page that was created at TASS initiative in 2015. TASS said it is necessary to continue to develop the page in this social network in order to have more audience coverage.

[COVID-19 Reporter's Story]

The OANA Secretariat received 48 articles/photo news from 14 member agencies. SG expressed deep appreciation to them all for their participation in the project.

The submitted articles/photo news have been uploaded on the OANA website

The articles and photos were introduced in Korean-language news by Yonhap News Agency.



[COVID-19 Photo Exhibition]

SG reported that the Secretariat has received 361 images from 25 OANA member agencies for the COVID-19 photo exhibition scheduled to open in late November in Seoul. In all, the Secretariat received 611 images from 46 news agencies across the world. SG thanked them for the valuable contributions. SG pledged full efforts by the Secretariat for a successful exhibition.

[Activities of OANA Secretary General]

SG attended the 5th General Assembly of the Atlantic Federation of African Press Agencies (FAAPA) in Rabat on Nov. 29-30, 2019, representing OANA which holds an observer status in the Federation.

SG attended a meeting of the News Agency World Council in London on Dec. 2, 2019, representing OANA in a vote to choose the host of the 7th News Agencies World Congress in 2022.. Moroccan News Agency (MAP) won the vote.

[Culmination of OANA's contract with Factiva]

Factiva, a news database service operated by Dow Jones, has informed the OANA Secretariat that it is terminating its contract with OANA.

Through an agreement reached in 2001, OANA's chair agency has been providing news articles of OANA members to Factiva. The agreement was due for renewal in December 2019. Factiva said it decided not to renew the contract since it now has direct agreements with most of OANA members.

[AKP of Cambodia reaffirms intent to withdraw from OANA]

AKP of Cambodia has reaffirmed its intent to withdraw from OANA. AKP had first expressed such intent in August 2014, citing financial restraints that affect the agency's ability to pay OANA membership fees.

TASS said it considers the reduction in the number of members in the organization an alarming event and suggested discussing the problem at the next OANA Executive Board meeting.

[Membership fee payments]

SG explained that over the past few terms of OANA chairs, it has become a practice to exempt the chair agency from annual OANA membership fee payments. SG took this opportunity to formally inform the board members of such exemption. She said other members will be informed at the next General Assembly.

[Issuing statements under OANA name]

As an organization representing news agencies of the Asia-Pacific region, OANA can speak out on important issues that affect journalists, freedom of the press, the media industry and other matters that can impact reporters performing their duties.

SG proposed that the Executive Board members consider having OANA issue statements under the name of the organization on such issues and determine what procedures would be required in issuing OANA statements.

VNA said OANA should set up a tight mechanism of consensus that regulates which statements will be issued under OANA name in order to not politicize professional issues.

IRNA said it believes the OANA Statute must be revised to entitle the executive board/secretary general to issue official statements by the name of the organization.

TASS said statements made on behalf of OANA will have weight in the information field of the Asia-Pacific region.

TASS proposed that a member agency can suggest a topic for the statement, but the topic should not be politically biased or directed against partners in OANA. The Secretariat will distribute the draft statement to Executive Board members, who will decide whether to publish the statement under OANA name by a majority vote.

Xinhua recommended that the Secretariat first propose drafts on the procedures to be followed for issuing statements under OANA name, and then distribute the drafts to OANA members for suggestions and advice.

SG said she has contacted other regional organizations of news agencies about their protocols on issuing statements. SG will share the gathered information with board members before the next EBM in order to try to reach a consensus on the needed procedure.

SG asked board members to give their opinions on this matter to the OANA Secretariat to expedite the discussions.

[Protocols for EBM and General Assembly]

SG proposed setting protocols on arranging and conducting OANA Executive Board Meetings and General Assemblies. The protocols may include procedural guidelines for holding EBMs and GAs, honorarium for invited speakers, allowed expenditures from OANA budget and so on.

IRNA supported the idea but preferred to review a draft version and then comment on it.

Xinhua, as in the case of issuing statements under OANA name, said it suggests the OANA Secretariat first propose drafts on the protocols and then distribute them to OANA members for suggestions and advice.