Media group boss highlights potential growth of sector in MENA region

ABU DHABI: Secretary-General of the European Alliance of News Agencies Alexandru Ion Giboi has highlighted the pivotal role of news agencies in the evolving media landscape.

Addressing the Global Media Congress on Wednesday, he underlined the importance of promoting news agencies as vital sources of information, emphasizing key issues such as copyright, technology cooperation and other industry essentials. 

“We are living in a moment in which there are so many things changing,” Giboi told Arab News. “There are so many external influences on the media environment, which makes it fundamental that the public, the stakeholders, understand what we do.”

In response to the prevailing debate on prioritizing quality content over quantity, Giboi said that news agencies, standing for both speed and quality, must strike a delicate balance.

News agencies delivered accurate information promptly, he explained, differentiating them from broadcasters that relied on news agencies for basic information.

“I think actually representing news agencies means that we stand for both speed and quality,” he said. “For us, it’s usually not a choice between these two.”

He added: “We have to find a middle ground all the time, that sweet spot between speed and accuracy and quality.”

Switching to industry insights, Giboi outlined a number of challenges faced by news agencies, ranging from human resource constraints to financial issues stemming from copyright disputes with major social media platforms.

Earlier in October EANA, in partnership with the Universita della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano, Switzerland, unveiled a study outlining the key trends and developments within the news agency arena.

“We have this advantage of being a very non-homogenous membership organization with private news agencies as members, public news agencies and state-run news agencies,” Giboi explained.

“You can imagine that the insights we get from them are extremely useful because they really paint the full picture of the news agency environment.”

Looking at the future of news agencies, especially in light of emerging artificial intelligence tools, he underlined EANA’s pivotal role as a platform for members to exchange challenges and solutions, facilitating the sharing of ideas to foster organizational growth.

Envisioning a technological future where media flourishes, potentially accessed through personal AI assistants, Giboi emphasized the imperative for AI providers to remunerate for the content they used. This, he argued, would ensure a positive societal impact and fulfill their social responsibility.

“I see AI as both disrupting in a positive way the workflow of news agencies and also a way to increase access to trustworthy news,” he argued, adding: “This can only happen if providers pay for the content they use to train their AI.”

Since its integration into mainstream media, AI has emerged as a disruptive force on society, sparking profound discourse about its advantages and potential risks.

Addressing the interaction between news agencies and AI providers — in contrast to that with social media — Giboi contended that while distinctions existed, it was crucial not to repeat past errors.

He urged a collaborative approach to achieve a balance between technological progress and ethical concerns.

“By delivering truth, we help the public good, the common good. AI should do the same. AI providers should do the same, be aware of society or the impact on society,” he said.

Discussing recent organizational developments, Giboi addressed the suspension of the Russian state news agency Tass from EANA membership last year.

The decision arose from a proposal submitted by a member agency due to conflicts with EANA’s principles, he explained, particularly in relation to Russia’s legislation restricting views that opposed its official stance.

Although Tass has been suspended by EANA, an attempt to expel it from the organization entirely failed in September.

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