JEDDAH: The Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA) and the Russian Sputnik news agency on Wednesday signed a media cooperation agreement that aims to enhance joint media work and news exchange.
The signing ceremony, which was attended by the Emir of Makkah Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, was held on the sidelines of the Group of Strategic Vision “Russia — Islamic World” held at the Ritz Carlton hotel.
The memorandum was signed by UNA Acting Director General Mohammed Al-Yami and Sputnik Director for International Cooperation Vasily Pushkov.
Al-Yami told Arab News that the agreement will help Organisation of Islamic Cooperation member states to convey their message to Eastern Europe.
“Among the goals of the agreement are to tackle the issue of Islamophobia, and promote coexistence and create an atmosphere of harmony between countries,” he said.
Al-Yami said that that the agreement also focuses on training programs and broadcasting news of member states.
“Through this agreement, we can have a flexible distribution of news content,” he said.
“Due to the fact that Sputnik delivers a wide range of news services on both radio and online, the memorandum will strengthen the media presence of the news content of the Islamic countries’ news agencies in the Russian media,” Al-Yami said.
The agreement will also support publication on topics of common interest, such as strengthening interreligious and intercultural dialogue and confronting hate speech and extremist ideology.
Pushkov said that Sputnik is the largest media agency in Russia, while UNA is one of the largest media conglomerates in the world.
“They are interested in receiving direct access to news from Russia and from our network of correspondents around the world. We, in turn, operate in 32 languages, and at least three of these languages, French, Arabic and English, have a very good presence in the Islamic world,” he told Arab News.
Pushkov added that Sputnik is interested in enriching its own broadcasting with news from new partners, and also cooperating to find solutions to joint issues.
“There is, of course, the problem of fake news and Islamophobia in the world, which we are also aiming to solve with basic journalistic integrity and good work. Then, there is the educational purposes, because we have our own project aiming to broaden into the Islamic world. We have already started giving lectures and exchanging ideas with journalists from different Islamic countries,” he said.
Pushkov said that UNA is valued as an international media organization that brings together about 57 official news agencies in Islamic countries. Moreover, the agreement will give the news agency direct access to these agencies and help Sputnik expand its news sources.
UNA is a specialized media organ of the OIC. It publishes daily news bulletins in Arabic, English and French, focusing on issues and events in the Islamic world as well as those related to Muslim minorities worldwide.