Minutes of the  17th General Assembly 

of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies

8 November, 2019

Seoul, the Republic of Korea


2019 OANA GA


Member Agencies
AAP(Australia), AKP(Cambodia), Anadolu(Turkey), ANTARA(Indonesia), AZERTAC(Azerbaijan), Bernama(Malaysia), BNA(Bahrain), IRNA(Iran), JIJI(Japan), Kabar(Kyrgyzstan), Kazinform(Kazakhstan), KPL(Laos), Kyodo(Japan), MNA(Iran), Montsame(Mongolia), ONA(Oman), PPI(Pakistan), QNA(Qatar), Sputnik(Russia), RSS(Nepal), SABA(Yemen), TASS(Russia), TNA(Thailand), Trend(Azerbaijan), UNB(Bangladesh), VNA(Vietnam), WAM(UAE),  Xinhua(China) Yonhap(South Korea)


NAWC(News Agencies World Congress)

AMAN(Alliance of Mediterranean News Agencies)

FAAPA(Atlantic Federation of African Press Agencies)



ANI(India), APP(Pakistan), Bakhtar(Afganistan), BSS(Bangladesh), FNA(Iran), KCNA(DPRK), KUNA(Kuwait), Lankapuvath(Sri Lanka), NINA(Iraq), NNA(Lebanon) PNA(Philippine), PTI(India), SANA(Syria), SPA(Saudi Arabia)


OANA Secretary General Mr. Vugar Seidov gave opening remarks, thanking the participants of the 17th OANA General Assembly in Seoul.  He thanked Yonhap News Agency for hosting the conference.


Secretary General introduced Mr. Maxim Minchev, the director general of Bulgarian Telegraph Agency and the current president  of the World Congress of News Agencies,  and inviting him to give remarks.


Mr. Maxim Minchev, director general of Bulgarian Telegraph Agency and president of the World Congress of News Agencies, gave remarks.

Mr. Maxim noted how the discussions during the 6th News Agencies World Congress click with the theme of the 17th OANA General Assembly, "New Challenges for Journalism: Technological Innovations and Issues of Trust."

"Technological innovations in the media pose one of the most serious challenges to our profession," he said.  "I do believe that innovations and artificial intelligence are and will be our partner rather than a potential cause for concern."


Secretary General introduced Mr. George Penintaex, secretary general of the Alliance of the Mediterranean News Agencies (AMAN) and invited him to give remarks.


Mr. George Penintaex, secretary general of the Alliance of the Mediterranean News Agencies (AMAN) gave remarks.

Mr. Penintaex noted that AMAN and OANA have many similarities and highlighted the  agreement signed in 2003 by the two alliances that refers to cooperation in inviting representatives from each other to seminars and workshops for journalists, photo correspondents and technical staff.

"What I suggest is to review the content of the cooperation agreement and see how we can move forward to the benefit of our two alliances and our member-agencies," he said.


Secretary General introduced Mr. Mohamed Anis, secretary general of the Atlantic Federation of African Press Agencies (FAAPA), noting that OANA and FAAPA signed a memorandum of understanding on December 21, 2018, in Rabat, Morocco.


Mr. Mohamed Anis, secretary general of the Atlantic Federation of African Press Agencies (FAAPA), gave remarks.

Mr. Anis said Asia-Pacific news agencies and African news agencies are now called, more than ever, to further consolidate their cooperation, "through promoting closer partnerships, reinforcing the exchange of information and experiences, and pooling efforts to face together the new challenges in the media landscape, notably the impact of social networks and the proliferation of information websites.


Secretary General confirmed the quorum needed for the General Assembly session.  He affirmed that 29 delegations were attending the General Assembly, meeting the required 22 delegations in constituting the quorum.


Agenda of the 17th OANA General Assembly was approved.


Secretary General explained the amendments to the OANA Statute agreed on at the three Executive Board meetings prior to the General Assembly in Seoul.

The Secretary General said the Board members decided to work on Statute modifications at the 42nd EBM in Beirut, formed the Working Group at the 43rd EBM in Tehran, and the package of amendments was discussed and approved by the Executive Board at the 44th EBM in Hanoi.  The Secretary General communicated the proposed amendments to all OANA members immediately after the Hanoi EBM.  The Secretary General suggested putting the amendments to a vote in one package.


Amendments to the OANA Statute were adopted in a package.


Secretary General reported on OANA's activities in 2016-2019. 

The secretary general referred to the Technical Report and said it reflects the jobs done by the OANA Technical Committee over the last three years that have been quite extensive and shows activities and achievements.

The secretary general also referred to the Finance Report and urged delegations to honor their membership commitments and pay their fees on time.



Secretary General sought General Assembly's approval of the Agreement of Cooperation between OANA and FAAPA.


The Agreement of Cooperation between OANA and FAAPA was approved.


Secretary General informed the General Assembly of the withdrawal of Khabar Agency of Kazakhstan from OANA.  He explained that Khabar has left for internal reasons not related to OANA and added that OANA, should Khabar decide in the future to return, will gladly welcome them back.


Secretary General sought General Assembly's approval for admitting WAFA agency of the state of Palestine as an observer to OANA.  He informed that WAFA had sent a letter formally applying for membership in OANA. One of the amendments to the Statute adopted at the General Assembly in Seoul was replacing "UNESCO" with "the United Nations" for the membership criteria stated in Article 2 of the OANA Statute.  The secretary general proposed that since the State of Palestine is an observer-state in the U.N., as opposed to a member-state, OANA admit WAFA as an observer-agency as well. When Palestine becomes a full member of the U.N., WAFA will upgrade its membership from observer to full member.


WAFA joining OANA as an observer was approved.


Secretary General sought adoption of the OANA flag.  He said he was asked by the Executive Board to suggest a design.


OANA flag was officially approved.


Secretary General announces winners of the OANA Award.  He said 11 Executive Board members voted to give the OANA Award to Xinhua and VNA, who equally received 28 points.


OANA President Mr. Aslan Aslanov awarded Xinhua and VNA.


Secretary General asked the General Assembly to elect the new chair-agency of OANA for the years 2019-2022.  He said AZERTAC, during its presidency of OANA of the last three years, tried to do its best to revitalize OANA, to "Make OANA Great Again" with the motto "OANA first.

He noted that Yonhap was nominated for the presidency at the Executive Board meeting a day earlier and was supported unanimously.


Secretary General asked if there were nominations other than Yonhap News Agency for OANA presidency.  He noted the unwritten tradition that the agency that hosts the General Assembly is normally elected the president of OANA for the next three years.  No other nominations were made.


Yonhap was elected chair-agency of OANA for the years 2019-2022. 


Secretary General called for formation of the Executive Board, Technical Committee and Ethics Committee for the next three years.  The nominations were:


Executive Board (13)

Yonhap (Korea), AZERTAC (Azerbaijan), TASS (Russia), Anadolu (Turkey), Xinhua (China), IRNA (Iran), AAP (Australia), BERNAMA (Malaysia), Kyodo (Japan), VNA (Vietnam), Montsame (Mongolia), NNA (Lebanon), BNA (Bahrain)


Technical Committee (8)

AZERTAC (Azerbaijan), TASS (Russia), MNA (Iran), PTI (India), KUNA (Kuwait), KAZINFORM (Kazakhstan), Antara (Indonesia), PPI (Pakistan)


Ethics Committee (4)

AAP (Australia), AZERTAC (Azerbaijan), WAM (UAE), Kyodo (Japan)

2019 OANA GA - Seoul

Members nominated for the Executive Board, Technical Committee and Ethics Committee were approved.


Secretary General called for a raise of hands to elect OANA vice presidents.  He informed the General Assembly that he asked Yonhap to begin working on the next set of amendments of the Statute that will include the procedure of becoming vice president of OANA.


Delegates to the General Assembly voted to elect AZERTAC, Xinhua, TASS and Anadolu as vice presidents of OANA.


Secretary General announced IRNA's self-nomination to host the next General Assembly. He noted that IRNA had hosted the 43rd Executive Board Meeting in Tehran, which was held on a high level. 


Secretary General asked if there were invitations other than IRNA to host the next General Assembly.  There were no other invitations.


Delegates to the General Assembly supported IRNA's invitation to host the next OANA General Assembly.  The secretary general congratulated IRNA and announced the 18th OANA General Assembly will take place in 2022 in Iran.


IRNA thanked OANA member agencies for placing confidence and support in IRNA and said the agency is committed to the objectives of OANA and believes we have to devise modern and innovative means to achieve our common goals. 


Secretary General invited Yonhap President and CEO Mr. Cho Sung-boo to present the draft of the Seoul Declaration that was endorsed unanimously by the 45th Executive Board Meeting.


Yonhap President Mr. Cho read the drafted text of the Seoul Declaration


Secretary General called for a show of hands on whether to endorse the Seoul Declaration.


The Seoul Declaration was unanimously adopted.


The closing ceremony of the 17th OANA General Assembly was turned over to Yonhap.


Kyodo President Mr. Toru Mizutani gives appreciation remarks.

Mr. Mizutani said "News agencies have been providing news to various media organizations.  Now is the age in which news agencies are required to provide all kinds of content.  It is also necessary to reform work flows by introducing new technologies, including AI, into editorial operations."

"Kyodo News would like to reflect the discussions held in Seoul this time in its reporting of the Tokyo Olympics next year," Mr. Mizutani added.


Xinhua Vice President Mr. Siyang Liu gives appreciation remarks.

Mr. Liu said “Since its establishment in 1961, the OANA has been committed to ensuring efficient and free news exchange between news agencies in the Asia-Pacific region and has played an important role in promoting the development of news agencies in the region. As a member news agency, Xinhua News Agency will continue to support OANA’s work, actively participate in OANA’s activities, and enhance communication and cooperation with OANA members in news reporting and technological innovation. 


Ceremony was held for handover of presidency from AZERTAC to Yonhap by having Mr. Aslan Aslanov of AZERTAC, the outgoing OANA president, passing the OANA flag over to Mr. Cho Sung-boo of Yonhap, the new OANA president.


Mr. Cho gave an appreciation speech.  He said Yonhap's OANA presidency is especially meaningful since it is the first such time since the company was established in 1980.  He reaffirmed that OANA's goal is to strengthen cooperation among OANA member agencies and find solutions to common challenges.  He said Yonhap is ready to dedicate its efforts for that goal.


Secretary General declared the General Assembly concluded, bade good bye and officially announced the end of his tenure in the capacity of the OANA Secretary General.  He thanked Mr. Aslanov and all of the member agencies for their participation, and affirmed he will always be available to his successor for any help he can provide.