SOFIA – The sixth News Agencies World Congress (NAWC) got underway in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Thursday with speakers emphasising the critical importance of credible news sources.
Bulgarian President Rumen Radev welcomed delegates and said that congress offers the opportunity to discuss the going trends, challenges and opportunities for news agencies and he linked the future of news to the future of humankind.
The two-day congress takes place under the theme "The Future of News", with Radev describing information as a critical commodity.
"Digitalisation has already changed our perception of the world because information is in abundant supply but in reality, it is the most scarce commodity," the Bulgarian head of State said.
"Today, information is the most abundant commodity, but in fact the most deficient," he said.
"We often experience a sharp shortage of timely, objective and credible information."
Maxim Minchev, director-general of the Bulgarian news agency BTA, described news journalism as one of the last bastions of real and double-checked news and said the industry needed sources of inspiration as much sources of financing.
He said the Sofia Congress was taking place at a time of tremendous challenges as the world was changing faster than at any time before.
“Our journalists, our professionals and industry is changing accordingly amid the need to distinguish between genuine and fake news.”
Minchev stressed the need for “integrity and credibility” and said the two-day congress would examine crucial issues such as digital advancements, the issue of fake news, as well as ownership models of news agencies.
There are around 200 editors, journalists and executives from 90 news agencies, representing about 60 countries, attending the sixth NAWC. The previous congresses took place in Moscow, Russia, in 2004, Estepona in Spain in 2007, in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina, in 2010, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2013, and Baku, Azerbaijan, in 2016.