AMAN NEWSLETTER 2012
1. AMAN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
2. AMAN FUC MEETING
3. CONTRIBUTIONS BY AMAN MEMBER AGENCIES AND OBSERVERS
Compiled by George Penintaex
CNA Acting Director/Editor-in-Chief
AMAN Secretary General
1. AMAN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The 21st General Assembly of AMAN will take place between 26-29 June 2012, in ROME, hosted by ANSA.
26 June: Arrivals
27 June: Seminar
28 June: General Assembly
29 June: Departures
All expenses, including hotel accommodation, meals and transportation will be kindly covered by ANSA.
Delegations from member agencies and observers can be made up of up to two high-ranking persons.
Delegates are kindly requested to confirm their participation until 15 April 2012, through filling the registration forms, in order to give time to ANSA to make the necessary hotel bookings because we are entering the summer season.
2. AMAN FUC MEETING
The Follow-Up Committee of AMAN made up of MAP, AFP, ANSA and CNA, will meet on 20 April 2012, in Rome, hosted by ANSA.
The meeting aims at preparing the agenda of the 21st General Assembly of AMAN to be held between 26-29 June 2012, in Rome, hosted by ANSA.
3. CONTRIBUTIONS BY AMAN MEMBER AGENCIES AND OBSERVERS
French national assembly confirms AFP´s general interest mission
The French national assembly has confirmed AFP´s general interest mission and placed its financing on a new and dynamic mission, AFP said in a statement referring to a decision by the assembly. The assembly has adopted a government amendment to draft legislation on a law clarifying the public funds received by the agency.
“This is a positive and dynamic step forward in clarifying the financial relationship between the state and AFP, showing the public authorities´ determination to deal with the legal action taken at the European Commission by the German news agency dapd”, the AFP statement said.
“This arrangement will enhance the agency´s capacity to develop in various markets, particularly in Europe”, AFP said.
German news agency dapd has questioned if AFP services are subsidised by the state in a way that violates EU regulation. The EU Commission, Internal Market, confirms that there is an ongoing study of the financing adding that it is not clear when the study can be finalised.
AFP said that the amendment modifies article 13 of the 1957 statutes to allow for “financial compensation by the state of the net costs of fulfilling its mission of general interest, as set out by articles 1 and 2 of this Act”.
“It inscribed in the founding document of the agency the idea of general interest mission and permits financial compensation by the state as part of this role”.
Article 1 and 2 include a mission statement saying that the agency shall offer a complete and objective information service stressing editorial independence.
AFP and Relaxnews launch service for Kindle
AFP and Relaxnews have signed an agreement with Amazon in the US for a daily service on the Kindle and Kindle Fire. The service will be available in both English and French. The daily service – except Saturdays – offers Kindle users “the opportunity to escape from their daily routine with positive news”.
“Topics in the service will range from travel and health to luxury and technology, all selected from the AFP-Relaxnews´ leisure newswire”, AFP said in a press release. Subscription is USD 2.99 per month or Kindle users can buy per edition for USD 1.49.
“The launch on the Kindle allows us to reach a new audience in the tablet´s high-growth market, with a leading and dynamic partner”, said Jerome and Pierre Doncieux, co-presidents of Relaxnews.
The AFP-Relaxnews service is available by subscription for web, print, mobile, social media etc and has more than 80 customers in 20, AFP said.
AFP board approves budget stressing video and sport
AFP´s board of directors has approved a budget for 2012 that according to a press release follows the strategic plan adopted in November 2010. “It will allow for the development of the video service, boost multi-media, increase Arabic-language output, fund our Brazil plans and strengthen AFP´s presence in social media networks”, the agency said in a press release.
“The budget also covers investment in IRIS, the updated editorial system which will improve delivery to clients, fund the continued headquarters refurbishment which began earlier this year, along with new equipment for the video and photo services”.
The agency also stressed that “sports remains a priority, with development of offers for mobile devices. Sport service sales are expected to jump 34 per cent in 2012, driven by the London Olympic Games and the European football championships”.
The 2012 budget forecasts sales at Euro 285 million, up 2 per cent, with an operating profit of Euro 15 million and break-even at the net profit level. Sales at the video service are expected to increase 40 per cent, Internet 20 per cent with a gain of 7 per cent in Arabic and Portuguese language income. Costs remain under control, with a rise of 2 per cent estimated, the agency said.
For the full 2011, the board estimates sales of Euro 280 million, ahead of budget, an operating profit at Euro 16.2 million, up Euro 1.2 million and a net profit of Euro 1,8 million.
“Given the difficult economic backdrop, and problems in the press industry in particular, the 2012 budget allows AFP to develop our international sales, preserve our market share in France, increase our commercial offerings and to continue to invest in the resources needed for AFP to produce a multi-media product and refurbish our headquarters”.
President and CEO Emmanuel Hoog at the board meeting reported significant progress, especially in video, and the development of Portuguese language products for the Brazil market whose sales are estimated to be Euro 1.8 million next year.
In a previous statement during a visit to Latin America, Mr Hoog confirmed the agency´s intention to speed up development of new markets in Brazil and further afield in Latin America, in particular through new products and by strengthening the editorial content in Portuguese.
“Brazil is at the crossroads of four priorities: Internationalisations, Video, Mobile applications and Sport”, he said.
During the visit to Latin America, Mr Hoog signed an agreement on cooperation with Argentinean company Data Factory providing sports data and statistics in Latin America.
AFP cooperating with Japanese newspaper group for photos
AFP has signed an agreement with newspaper group Yomiuri Shimbun to supply AFP clients worldwide with news pictures from Japan. The Japanese newspaper group will feed a daily selection of photos into AFP´s photo data base Imageforum.
“This agreement will supplement AFP´s daily pictorial coverage of Japan”, said AFP´s Global Sales and Marketing Director Olivier Lombardie. He stressed that the partnership is an important step in advancing AFP´s strategy of making Imageforum a one-stop shop for pictures.
The Imageforum comprises 16 million AFP images and 7 million from 34 partner newspapers and specialised picture agencies. Yomiuri Shimbun is Japan´s largest newspaper with a daily circulation of more than 10 million copies.
AFP launching photo apps for iPads
AFP announced that the agency plans to launch a number of applications for photo services for iPads. “With these new “pay for” apps, the first two of which are on sale at a special launch price of Euro 1.59, AFP is strengthening its presence on the mobile market, one of the agency´s key development areas”, the agency said in a press release.
The agency said that future “AFP Photo Books” applications will be devoted to highlights of current events and key personalities. The agency also plans a number of other photo apps including on the environment, faith rituals and traditions and offbeat features. A selection of galleries dedicated to the AFP Photo Annual featuring the best news pictures of 2011 was released in January. In February, the agency will release a retrospective of the Arab revolutions to mark the first anniversary of the uprising in Tunisia.
Top management changes at AFP subsidiary SID
AFP´s Chief Financial Officer, Antoine Ludier, will temporarily be assuming the direction of SID, Sport-Informations-Dienst, a subsidiary to AFP producing a German-language sports service.
“AFP reaffirms its engagement in the German market where AFP GmbH has been operating since 1986, and particularly its commitment to the SID”, AFP said in a press release. “AFP plans to strengthen the SID leadership in the German sports news market through an increase of the synergies between AFP GmbH and SID, both subsidiaries at 100 per cent of the French international agency”.
AFP reports that SID had a turnover of Euro 5.3 million last year and that the teams of AFP and SID will be covering together the London Olympic Games and the Euro 2012 football “in order to respond better to our international clients”.
CNA preparation for EU presidency
The Cyprus News Agency will undertake an increased role during the Cyprus Republic’s presidency of the Council of the European Union, in the second half of 2012.
For this reason, the agency is going through a technological development and very soon will introduce a new website. At the same time, CNA has organized a number of seminars and training sessions to familiarize its staff with EU affairs and the Cyprus presidency targets.
EFE appoints new CEO
Jose Antonio Vera Gil, Editor of Madrid daily La Razon, has been appointed to succeed Alex Grijelmo as CEO of EFE. Mr Grijelmo returns to publishing group Prisa where he earlier has worked for 20 years.
EFE reports that the Board of directors of state-owned industrial holding company SEPI has approved the choice of Mr Vera as the agency´s President and CEO. Prior to his becoming Editor of La Razon, Mr Vera spent 16 years with another Madrid Newspaper, ABC, where he held several senior positions, including Head of the National Desk, EFE reports.
Mr Grijelmo had been EFE´s CEO since May 2004. He joined EFE from the position as Director of Content for Prisa International.
EFE Director General
EFE´s Director General Lola Alvarez, in late March announced that she is also leaving the agency.
Following EANA`s statutes, this means that she also is leaving the EANA Board. The EANA Board has a meeting in early May and will discuss how to handle the vacancy.
EFE Interactive Internet site
During Spain´s recent (presidential) elections campaign, EFE News Agency in association with YouTube created an interactive Internet site - The 2011 Elections Channel "Canal Elecciones 2011 (http://www.youtube.com/user/elecciones2011). The channel enjoyed a short but very intense life, receiving six million visits over the period of the election campaign. As a result, Spaniards were for the first time able to go to an Online site to compare the political platforms of those parties represented in the Spanish parliament. Citizens also had an unprecedented chance to pose questions to political leaders and receive replies, all online. As part of this project, aimed at facilitating the participation of citizens in the electoral process, internet users viewed videos 435,000 times, made 3,000 comments and posed 750 questions to candidates.
In July 2011 the Croatian Parliament appointed a new HINA Steering Board. Members of the previous Steering Board – Ante Drpic, Vlaho Bogisic, Aleksandar Adler, Gordana Carevic and Damir Pavuna – were relieved of duty after serving a four-year term.
Vlaho Bogisic and Aleksandar Adler were reappointed as members of the Steering Board from media and financial experts respectively, while Tomislav Radic and Damir Boras were appointed asto the Steering Board from legal and IT experts respectively.
Following In line with a conclusion by conclusion of the Croatian Parliament, over the past three years HINA has set up a national database of media content, thus creating conditions to provide media monitoring services – the monitoring of the content of daily and periodical newspapers, Internet portals and TV and radio broadcasts. The media monitoring (press clipping) service offerscontains a selection of information from Croatian print media and fromas well as 120 Croatian, 15 Serbian and 15 Bosnian web portals. The service covers evening and morning newspaper editions. It also contains a searchable database of content delivered to users. The selected content of daily papers is delivered by 0800 hours on the day of their publishing. The time of delivery of selected content from the weeklies and other periodicals is by 1000 hours on the day of their publishing. The content of the media monitoring service is delivered to users through a user website protected by a user name and password. The database with information delivered to users can be searched according to agreed meta-data and by a full text search.
HINA new website
On 1 January 2012, a trial run started for HINA’s new webweb site at www.websrv3.hina.hr, to operate alongside the agency’s existing webweb site at www.hina.hr. The new webweb site was created by the agency’s employees and with its own funds. The link to the new webweb site is on the right side of the current webweb site hina.hr, and the new portal consists of two sections - one with partial and free news items, available to all, and the other intended for the agency's subscribers which can be accessed by entering one's user name and password.
One of the main features of the new webweb site is personalisation – the webweb site contains special pages accessible via links in the main menu (they indicate what set of news items is clicked open – for example, the option ‘Chronological’ opens all news items from all services the user has subscribed to, sorted in chronological order of publication).
By clicking on the link ‘All categories’, the user accesses all news items from all services they have subscribed to, sorted in chronological order, but divided in different categories depending on their content (news from Croatia, world news, business news etc.) The link ‘Services’ provides access to news items categorised according to services the user has subscribed to.
MAP has recently appointed Mr. Abdelaziz IDRISSI as Director of New Technologies, in replacement of Mrs. Meryem El Ouali.
MAP news agency eyes new ICT products
Since its inauguration in 1959, Morocco’s news agency “Maghreb ArabePresse”, known by its French acronym (MAP), has grown up to become a key institution in the national media landscape, setting as main objectives the collection, processing and distribution of news services, emanating from both its national and international network of bureaus.
The news item constitutes the core product of any news agency. In fact, the news stories are published rapidly on real time to a wide array of newspapers and media bodies. Such task constitutes the grassroots activity of all journalists working in news agencies. Expectedly, the agency journalism will continue to thrive even amidst increasing fierce competition from other media outlets and channels of information.
The ever-evolving media technology has led to reducing the impact of the traditional news story as a main vector of information. The press photo, the audio material and especially the interactivity of the electronic media made it mandatory for the other media outlets to adapt to the new realities.
MAP new products
In this respect, MAP is on constant quest to come out with new products likely to improve its productivity and enable it to maintain its leading role in the national information sector. To that end, the Moroccan news agency has recently renewed its web portal and is now preparing to invest in new projects such as MAP TV, MAP Audio and MAP Photo.
These new products, part of a strategy aiming at developing multimedia services, will shortly be launched by MAP, that will broadcast, via the specialized products, video features as well as a more developed photo service.
The new materials will ensure a stronger presence for MAP in the media sector, which will bring about a positive impact on its overall turnover. Currently, the agency is in the process of ensuring a large redeployment operation at the level of its international bureaus - with special focus on the African and Latin American countries.
On the other hand, MAP has recently re-looked and upgraded its Arabic, English, French and Spanish Website pages, according to the international standards.
The new version of MAP portal provides Internet users with daily national news, classified under political, economic, social, cultural, sporting, regional and miscellaneous subheadings, as well as photo reports made by MAP journalists.
There is no doubt that the real challenge in implementing these projects lies essentially in the voluntarism spirit and participation of MAP human resources that are required to contribute fully to the success of the new projects.
MAP's Board of Directors adopts 2012-2016 strategic plan
The Board of Directors of Morocco’s news agency, Agence Maghreb Arabe Presse (MAP), adopted on Monday the agency’s 2012-2016 strategic plan.
Held under the chairmanship of Communication Minister and Spokesperson for the Government Mustapha El Khalfi, the Board decided to set up a committee, to be presided by the Minister himself, to enhance the agency’s competitiveness with a view to make it a leading news agency at the continental level.
The Board members also approved MAP’s budget for 2012 and its action plan for the same year which is geared to reinforce its activity and modernise its organisational structure and the employees’ status.
The Agency intends to provide in 2012 new contents through reorganizing its modes of production, setting up specialised editorial services, publishing thematic bulletins and offering diversified products to its subscribers.
To this end, the Agency is pondering on the launch of a unit specialised in the video reporting of national and international news (MAP-TV). In the same vein, MAP-Audio will be opened to provide subscribing radio stations with sound elements under the form of reports, statements and interviews. The MAP-Mobile service will also be innovated and enriched by offering subscribers clear SMS news.
The agency will also reinforce its network of photographers at the agency’s central headquarters in Rabat and in its regional and international bureaus. Morocco’s news agency will also focus on promoting the attractiveness of its internet website to bring it up to international standards.
The Board of Directors approved the principle of adopting a new compensation system based on equity and motivation. The new system will be devised by a commission made up of representatives of the Communication Ministry, Economy and Finance Ministry and MAP. The Borad also welcomed the agency’s decision to elaborate a code of professional ethics.
The 39th General Assembly of the Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA) has renewed its confidence in its Secretary General Dr. Farid Ayar and asked him to continue holding this post for a new term in office as from 1 January 2012 for a period of five years.
The Arab News Agencies, which attended FANA’s 39th General Assembly meeting held at al-Doha, capital of Qatar, between 20 and 23 November 2011, came from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Morocco, Yemen, Egypt, Sudan, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.
AMAN NEWSLETTER 2011
CONTRIBUTIONS BY AMAN MEMBER AGENCIES AND OBSERVERS
The Executive Board of Anadolu Agency (AA) has appointed Mr. Kemal Ozturk as new Director General of AA. Mr. Ozturk succeeds Mr. Hilmi Bengi, who has retired as of 2 August 2011.
Kemal Ozturk was born in eastern province of Agri in 1969. Ozturk graduated from Faculty of Communications at Marmara University.
Ozturk began his professional journalism career in 1995 and directed several documentaries. His documentary films were broadcast in several Turkish and foreign TV channels. Ozturk also studied abroad and made researches on documentary.
In 2003, Ozturk became communication adviser of the parliament speaker. In 2005, he was appointed as chief advisor of the parliament speaker. Ozturk who also served as press advisor of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan left this position in February 2011.
Ozturk is married with two children.
AFP launching its iPad app in English
AFP announced the launching of its iPad application in English that is free of charge and provides access to a selection of news illustrated with videos and pictures.
The latest news appears at the top of the screen. Users can instantly access the news via the headline and the first paragraph of the article accompanied by images.
Users are also offered a magazine section with feature stories and analysis specially made for iPad by the agency´s multimedia department with feature stories and analysis.
AFP and Xinhua to cooperate on Chinese mobile market
AFP will supply Xinhua with photos for the agency´s telco products on the Chinese mobile market following an agreement signed by AFP CEO Emmanuel Hoog and Xinhua CEO Li Congjun. “This is an important step forward in AFP´s penetration of the vast China market, Mr Hoog said.
Xinhua will use AFP´s international photo production for mobile phones, tablets and other wireless devices.
Xinhua and AFP already have an agreement meaning that Xinhua is distributing AFP pictures to clients in the traditional media market. AFP is selling Xinhua photos globally via its Imageforum platform.
The Xinhua CEO said that “the future of international agencies rests on increasing cooperation between them”.
AFP announced that it also has extended its agreement with Japanese JIJI Press. The two agencies have had agreements on cooperation for more than 50 years.
AFP and Antara in cooperation for services in Indonesia
AFP and Indonesian news agency Antara have signed an agreement to lunch multimedia services in the Indonesian language. “This agreement will help us meet the growing demand for news products in local languages in Asia”, said Eric Wishart, AFP Regional Director for Asia-Pacific.
AFP has appointed Antara its translation and distribution partner for Bahasa Indonesia products. The first multimedia services incorporating text and photos will be launched in the fourth quarter 2011 followed by flash, video and other digital products designed for web and mobile platforms. AFP and Antara will also for the first time offer Bahasa Indonesia multimedia packages for major sporting events next year: Euro 2012 and London Olympics, AFP said in a press release.
Bahasa Indonesia is the official language of Indonesia.
AFP appointments to the Editor-in-Chief´s office
Christophe Vogt, 45, has been appointed AFP Deputy Chief News Editor and Eric Baradat, 40, has been appointed Editor-in-Chief for photo.
Mr Vogt joined the agency in 1995 as correspondent in Frankfurt. In 2000 he moved to the economic service in New York. He was appointed Head of the Economic Service in Washington in 2003, served as a correspondent in Afghanistan and for the last five years he has been Deputy Regional News Editor in Washington.
Mr Baradat got his first photo assignment at the age of 18 in Nairobi. He was hired as a photo editor at the international photo desk in 1996 and in 1998 he participated in the launch of Imageforum, the agency´s photo and graphics platform. He has served as photo editor for France, deputy photo editor for Europe-Africa and in 2006 he was appointed head of the Asia photo service based in Hong Kong.
ANSA, all about Italy, all over the world
Promoting and valorizing the excellence that makes Italy famous all over the world as well as supporting and facilitating the development of economic, cultural and trade relations, above all between Europe and the countries of the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf...
This is the new editorial strategy of Italy's biggest news agency ANSA, which, in order to consolidate its international presence in the areas of major economic development, has launched a series of news services in English, Spanish and Arabic that are packed with text, photo and video content destined for media outlets all over the world.
''ANSA for Italy'' will unfold Italian success stories from fields ranging from fashion to luxury cars, wine and gastronomy, art tourism, diplomacy and major events with eight features every day, plus a link to ANSA's English news service, Ansa English.it, which the agency produces every day to give the most important news from Italy.
AnsaMed offers a detailed daily news panorama of what is happening in the Euro-Mediterranean region, highlighting events of common interest and the most significant stories of economic, commercial and cultural cooperation between Europe, the regions of Italy and the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean area.
The agency's international presence is completed by ANSA Latina, a Spanish-language service featuring over 100 new items every day devoted to the main international issues and the economic and political affairs of the region, which goes to the Latin American media and also feeds a Portuguese portal.
Overall, each day ANSA produces 3,500 news stories, 500 of which are in foreign languages (English, Spanish and Arabic), transmits over 1,300 photos on the Italian and international circuit and is active via the www.ansa.it <http://www.ansa.it> website, 14 million pages of which are read every year with over eight million unique visitors.
"Digital Morocco 2013”: towards a wider use of information technologies
lately launched an ambitious national strategy dubbed "Digital Morocco 2013”,
worth 5.2 billion dirhams (673 million dollars) - a strategy that seeks to make
of the information technology sector a key element in the growth and development
of the country’s economy and society.
Reportedly, the strategy, initiated by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and New Technologies, aims at generating, by 2013, an additional GDP of 27 billion dirhams and creating over 26,000 new jobs.
This strategy is meant to make of the information technology a cornerstone of the Moroccan economy, a source of added value for other economic sectors and public administration, and an engine for human development, in view of positioning Morocco as a regional technology hub.
"Digital Morocco 2013”, is structured around four strategic priorities, namely providing citizens with high-speed Internet, bringing the administration closer to the needs of the user through an ambitious e-government program, and encouraging the computerization of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).
of the government’s main policy "digital Morocco 2013” can be viewed as a part
of the national telecommunications privatization program. The modernization of
the telecommunications sector and the upgrade of the telecommunications
infrastructure have become top priorities of the previous government’s reform
The government policy encourages and assists the set–up of telecommunications infrastructure by upgrading public to high-speed internet, thus ensuring universal access to everyone.
The liberalization of the national telecommunications, that has already been initiated since the mid–1990s, has made almost every type of telecommunications services available in Morocco, initially in urban areas and to rural areas as well.
In line with this strategy, Morocco is pressing forward with the e-government strategy that focuses on greater integration and wider use of information technology in public services.
The modernization of the administration involves resorting to the use of new technologies to facilitate the citizens’ access to basic administrative services and to lighten the burden of the administration.
According to several professionals, the public sector will gain hugely in terms of efficiency and effectiveness with the introduction of e-government services, thanks especially to simpler automated processing of information.
In addition, the e-government will significantly contribute to bridging the gap between the administration and citizen users.
Along with the organizational aspects and the mobilization of the necessary funding for these projects, the strategy also involves establishing a legal framework for "digital confidence".
In fact, the strategy is supported by the introduction of a suitable legal framework, particularly when it comes to protecting individuals with respect to the processing of personal data.
Central to the "Digital Morocco 2013” strategy are also the efforts to ensure that one thirds of the Moroccan families will have a high-speed Internet connection by 2013.
and international officials maintain that the progress witnessed in the field of
telecommunications and new technologies in Morocco is mainly due to the
efficiency of the legal and institutional framework launched by the Kingdom to
liberalize the sector and encourage private enterprise.
As a result, Morocco is progressing significantly in all digital fields. The country has in fact one of Africa's highest speed internet connectivity, while the mobile phone network reached, during the first half of the current year over 35 million, people, according to recent estimates; besides, several online services are launched, all aiming to dematerialize the administrative procedures for the citizens both in public and private sectors. (MAP/ AMAN Newsletter).