Tuesday, September 06, 2005

An international news exchange mechanism in the making

The possibility of setting up a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) news organisation or exchange will be one of the highlights of the Sixth Conference of the Ministers of Information of Non-Aligned Countries (Cominac) to be held in Kuala Lumpur this November. Giving the hint today, Information Minister Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said such a cooperation would enable the NAM member countries to have an effective exchange of news and information as many of the news sources they were getting now were from Western countries. He said Malaysia, the current NAM chairman, is prepared to be the centre for the network.
The minister's announcement has put the proposal into a higher gear. Over the past two weeks, I've been fortunate to actively participate in the discussion to craft the proposal. The NAM News Network (NNN), as we envisaged, would take over the role of the Non-Aligned News Agencies Pool (NANAP), which has been inactive over the years. Malaysia, through Bernama, has some experience in handling such multilateral news exchange arrangement. Bernama is now the secretariat for the Organisation of Asia Pacific News Agencies (OANA) newswire as well as the Smart News Network International (SNNi), both operated via the Internet. OANA represents 37 news agencies of 33 countries while SNNi groups 10 African news agencies and newspapers with Malaysia's national news agency Bernama and The Star, New Straits Times and Utusan newspapers.

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