Vestnik Kavkaza taking part in 6th News Agencies World Congress

The 6th News Agencies World Congress  - the largest platform for discussing the challenges of the new millennium and topical problems of journalism, traditional media and social media in the 21st century - has officially opened in Sofia. This event brings together experts and heads of world’s authoritative news agencies. TASS and Vestnik Kavkaza news agencies are participating in the event from Russia.

Director General of Bulgarian News Agency Maxim Minchev addressed the opening ceremony. According to the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, he stressed that "journalism is one of the last pillars of true, verified, credible news." In his speech, the BTA Director General listed the main topics of the 6th News Agencies World Congress: the future of news, the influence of artificial intelligence on news, independence of news agencies, ownership models of news agencies, fake news.

"The opportunity to meet and exchange ideas today is more important than ever, because the situation is changing very quickly, and we need to accumulate synergy. The Congress is a tribune where you can spread ideas around the world through the media,that is why leading news agencies from 68 countries are preset here," he said.

President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev addressed the ceremony next. "It is an honor for me to welcome you in Bulgaria. Hosting the Congress provides an opportunity to review current trends and challenges facing the media today. Today's topic - the future of news — in fact, is broader: the future of humanity. After all, there’s no life without technology and a dynamic information flow," he pointed out.

"Digitalization has changed the world’s perception. Information today is the most popular product, but at the same time it is the most scarce when it comes to objectivity. The social media boom poses a serious challenge to the established algorithms for transferring information, the world is drowned in ​​fake news, illiterate trolls discredit ideas and personalities. The destructive effect of information now has the potential to be more dangerous than bombs and missiles," Rumen Radev said.

In this regard, the Bulgarian president called on the participants of the Congress to find approaches to such challenges. "Access to objective information should protect society. This is the mission of news agencies. The ability to create information confidence is the basis for successful decisions, and the border between victory and the defeat is the ability to separate fake from the truth and use this skill for the benefit of society," the Bulgarian head of state concluded.

CEO of the Press Association (PA) Group and President of NACO Clive Marshall also took note of the growing challenges in the media. "These are fragmentation of the audience, a huge amount of media in general. The print media is not doing so well because people are interested in receiving information from the Internet, and Google allows to earn on advertising more than print media. In addition, fake news is a complex problem now," he said.

President of NAWC, Director General of the Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC) Aslan Aslanov thanked Bulgaria and the BTA for organizing the 6th Congress, as well as Clive Marshall and First Deputy Director General of Russian News Agency (TASS) and Vice President of NACO Mikhail Gusman for help in preparing this event. "Our goal is to preserve the status of news agencies as the most reliable news source," he said.

"With regard to fake news, news agencies are creating mechanisms to expose fakes, and these methods will be improved in the future. The future of news is the concern of us all. I believe that this future is in our hands. The goal of the Congress is to familiarize agencies from around the world with the latest media technologies, because sharing knowledge improves them," Aslan Aslanov stressed.

Concluding his speech, the general director of AzerTAc reported on the transfer of the News Agencies World Congress chairmanship from AzerTAc to the Bulgarian News Agency and wished the Bulgarian colleagues success in their work. In response, Maxim Minchev thanked Aslan Aslanov for the productive work during the three years of the Azerbaijani presidency.

CEO of the German News Agency (DPA) and President of the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) Peter Kropsch, Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Professor of Political Communications at Oxford University Rasmus Nielsen and Executive Director and CEO of International News Media Association (INMA) Earl Wilkinson will address the audience next.

Panel No. 1 'Ownership Models of News Agencies' will start at 14:30 local time. It will be moderated by CEO of the Australian Associated Press (AAP) Bruce Davidson. The gala concert and the official dinner hosted by Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova will be held in the evening.

The panel 'New Sources of Revenue' moderated by CEO of PA Group and President of NACO Clive Marshall, the panel 'Fake News' moderated by Secretary General of the Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA) Farid Ayar and the panel 'Artificial Intelligence' moderated by First Deputy Director General of Russian News Agency (TASS) and Vice President of NACO Mikhail Gusman will take place tomorrow.

After the final discussion, the official dinner hosted by Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva will be held.