Delegates from 90 news agencies gather in Spain


Estepona (Spain) : Representatives of 90 news agencies from 80 countries have gathered in this southern Spanish city for the second World Congress to discuss the challenges the Internet age has brought on the media.

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The event was inaugurated Wednesday by Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia.

In his address, King Carlos underscored the importance of independent news agencies in guaranteeing press freedom and democracy and hailed the role that “some free and independent media outlets of unquestionable influence” have played in the modernisation of Spain, Spanish news agency EFE reported.

The king said the existence of independent news agencies was “one of the best guarantees in each society … that complete, truthful and responsible information continues to flow”.

He urged greater international cooperation among news agencies for the sake of “peace, human rights, and fight against poverty, hunger, illness, the scourge of terrorism and attacks on the environment”.

Represented at the meeting are Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, DPA, Russia’s ITAR-TASS, Italian news agency ANSA, Chinese news agency Xinhua, Japan’s Kyodo and the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS).

Mexico’s Notimex, Cuba’s Prensa Latina, Brazil’s Agencia Estado and Argentina’s Telam are also taking part.

Additionally, representatives of agencies that are encountering serious difficulties in carrying out their work – notably Afghanistan’s Pajhwok and Iraq’s Aswat al Iraq and NINA – are also present in the congress.

The fight against piracy, technological changes, access, the right to cover important events and the safety of journalists in areas of conflict are some of the topics that will be the focus of the second World Congress of News Agencies, organised by EFE and the municipal government in Estepona.

According to one of the coordinators of the event, Juan Maria Calvo, one of the aims of the congress is to strengthen and consolidate the World Council of News Agencies as an umbrella organisation for agencies who are currently grouped into regional associations in different parts of the world.