A project among news agencies in the Turkic world to come together under the single roof of the Turkic News Agencies Association, is about to be completed, Anadolu Agency’s director-general said.
Serdar Karagoz underlined the importance of unity among Turkic news agencies while speaking on Saturday during the fourth Meeting of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Media and Information of the Organization of Turkic States (TDT), adding that this was a top priority of Anadolu Agency.
“We will turn this into a corporate union in Istanbul soon. In this way, we will ensure the sharing of content such as news, photos, and videos in the Turkic world,” said Karagoz, explaining that a “common pool” would be formed to facilitate this.
“Anadolu Agency will prepare programs to increase the capacities of news agencies in the Turkic world,” he stated.
Noting that the agency is also a founding member of the Association of European News Agencies, he said: “We will also take a leading role in the implementation of the Turkic News Agencies Association.”
Karagoz stressed that this body would start the process to bring the Turkic world closer together, underscoring that Anadolu Agency cares about the relationship between both states and societies.
Fight against disinformation in media
Pointing to the steps taken by Anadolu Agency in fighting disinformation, Karagoz said: “The widespread use of mass media and its rapid availability by end consumers have provoked the sources of disinformation as well.”
Outside of conventional media, anyone could “manipulate and generate disinformation through social media at any time,” he added.
“We observe that there is an effort by reputable and reliable organizations such as Anadolu Agency all over the world to prevent them.”
Emphasizing that this issue was not a problem only for Anadolu Agency, he said the entire world has been grappling with this issue for a long time.
Underlining the need to combat disinformation and manipulation in the news, Karagoz said Anadolu Agency reports the news “in the most accurate way.”
But, he said, if news that was reported from a source outside Anadolu Agency circulates among the public, “we need to check whether it is true in our reliable news laboratories.”
“For this purpose, as Anadolu Agency, we established a Fact-Checking Line” to test the veracity of such reports, especially those that quickly go viral on social media, at their source, and share the results subscribers, readers and viewers, added Karagoz.
Discrimination, digital fascism
The director-general noted that Anadolu Agency had also established a line to report on discrimination, which he said “is very common in the language of the media.”
“There is also discrimination in the language of politics. There is also discrimination in the language of the media, in the cultural sphere,” he said, adding that they wanted to draw attention to the discrimination in the media.
The center of this reporting will be Islamophobia “which is very common especially in Europe and North America,” while antisemitism is also a “serious issue of discrimination,” explained Karagoz.
Discrimination based on religion, race, and culture here, as well as inequality between men and women, will be the subject of what Karagoz called the line’s “editorial struggle.”
“Following, observing, and reporting these issues will be the most important task of the Discrimination Line.”
Underlining that the initiative represented an “exemplary” project, he said the line would fight discrimination not only in Turkiye, but also in the world.
“I think he will contribute a lot to our country and the world.”
Another initiative of the agency is to hold training programs for both subscribers and social media users on social media use, which he said is often abused.
“It is necessary to get ahead of this culture lynching (on social media),” Karagoz said, underscoring the importance of effective and reliable news sources on social media.
Pointing to the rise of “digital fascism,” Karagoz said this may become a more serious problem in the future, though “banning social media” would be no solution.
“An awareness needs to be built on social media,” he added, explaining that this would need to be created by both conventional media and social media companies together.
“It is important to use social media effectively, efficiently, and in a way that contributes to the society we live in,” he said.