Media industry faces unique challenges, CNA Board Chairman says

Financing and defending independent news agency journalism is the main focus of the Spring Conference of the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA), hosted by the Cyprus News Agency (CN?), on Thursday, in Ayia Napa, Cyprus.

The conference gathers CEOs, Directors General and Editor-in-Chiefs of some 30 European news agencies, including AFP (France), DPA (Germany), PA (Britain), TASS (Russia), EFE (Spain) and LUSA (Portugal).

Chairman of the CNA Board, Larkos Larkou, noted in his opening remarks that the media industry faces unique challenges, namely the widening tendency on attacking the media for political purposes, the serious issue regarding fake news, ‘new journalism’ in the form of free access to everyone, the pending issue of copy right, the need for more cooperation among ourselves, the increasing need for more sharing of our expertise on the field of technological expansion, including the use of drones and robotic cameras in this regards.

Larkou said that an environment of competitiveness is a must to drive us to more results-oriented practices.

The Chairman of the CNA Board referred to recent developments in the Cyprus issue, saying that the leaders of the two communities, President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, have completed two years of discussion and noted that very soon, most probably by the end of June we will see what would be the final results since the talks enter in a very crucial timeframe.

Larkou noted that during its historical course, Cyprus has suffered a lot due to its geographical position. Just have a look at the Middle East map, very close to Syria, to the ISIS neighbourhood, to the core of the Middle East issue, well known as the conflict between Israelis and the Palestinians.

He said the majority of the Cypriot people believe in the EU edifice. People see the EU as a catalyst guiding us to overcome challenges we face nowadays, to end Turkey’s occupation of Cyprus’ northern areas in line with UN parameters Larkou said, noting that the EU is setting the frame, it is up to us to transform this frame into a fair workable way of solving the Cyprus issue.

Jonas Eriksson, President of the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA), and editor-in-chief and CEO of the Swedish news agency TT, also addressed the opening ceremony.

Larkou said that the CNA will soon start producing news in Arabic, which would be a big achievement for CNA being a small agency. He added that by completing this webpage we inspire to open new ways of cooperation with many Arabic news agencies.

George Penintaex, Director of the CNA, said that the Arabic edition will enable the Agency to activate more than ten cooperation agreements with Arabic language news agencies in the Middle East and North Africa, noting that the CNA disseminates news in Greek, English and Turkish.

He noted however that the News Agency still suffers from the austerity measures taken by the government in the past four years due to the financial crisis that hit Cyprus in 2013 and as result, CNA’s annual budget, salaries and allowances have been cut down by 25% and 13% respectively, while development schemes and new technology projects have been postponed.

He said that despite the stagnation in the past four years, last year CNA acquired its own TV studio and it has developed a number of other services, including mobile applications.

Penintaex noted that CNA is an independent, autonomous and uncommitted organisation.

The main part of the conference started with a presentation by Jesse Holcomb, Associate Director at the Pew Research Centre, in Washington, on the trends in news consumption and news agencies, followed by a panel discussion on financing and securing quality news agency journalism and future business models.

The next part of the conference focused on financing and defending independence of national news agency services.

The conference will wrap up with an official dinner and a speech by Dr Panos Kelamis, Chief Executive Officer of the Cyprus Hydrocarbons Company, on energy matters in Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone.

Source: Cyprus News Agency