COVID-19: Bernama highlights need to focus on efforts by Muslim scientists in finding solutions

The Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama), during the first Media Forum of the Union of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) News Agencies (UNA), highlighted the need to provide extensive coverage on the efforts taken by Muslim scientists and medical societies around the globe in finding a cure for the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.


Bernama’s Editor-in-Chief Datuk Mokhtar Hussain, when sharing the agency’s experiences and knowledge in providing coverage for the pandemic, said the news agency will come up with a strategy or programme to share more information on the matter.


“We wish to share how Muslim scientists around the world or the medical society in the Muslim world is doing to help us (in) looking for a solution to face this (global) challenge of (COVID-19).



“Bernama is planning to do more online forum; for example, (a) webinar, where we can discuss these issues among the Muslim countries with our colleagues in UNA in (the) near future,” he said during the forum titled “The role of news agencies in supporting anti-coronavirus efforts” held via video teleconferencing which began 6pm local time yesterday (May 16).


Also present during the teleconferencing was deputy editor-in-chief of Bernama’s International News Service, Ahmad Fuad Yahya.


Saudi Arabia’s Acting Media Minister and Chairman of Executive Council of UNA Dr Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi chaired the forum, which aims to highlight the role of news agencies as reliable sources of information in spreading awareness about the COVID-19 pandemic.



The forum also provided an opportunity to the news agencies to exchange their experiences in disseminating knowledge and authentic information, in addition to refuting fake news and rumours besides preparing a manual and recommendations to document these experiences.


Sharing on the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of Bernama throughout the Movement Control Order (MCO), Mokhtar – who is also Bernama’s acting Chief Executive Officer – said the agency allowed most of its staff to work from home.


“There is ‘hikmah’ or blessing in disguise in this, where we find that sometimes we are more focused in our work…the quality of our reporting (is) getting better and we managed to do social monitoring to see how people are coping at home,” he said.


Mokhtar also pointed out that it is important to share information on how Muslims around the world are coping with the pandemic, namely on the reopening of the economy and how people would return to work after the lockdown.


During the virtual meeting, the editor-in-chief expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation towards the government of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – who is also the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques – and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud for their continued support for UNA.


The forum was also participated by the Secretary-General of the OIC, Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, and President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, Dr Bandar bin Mohammed Hajjar, as well as directors of news agencies from OIC member countries and the permanent representatives to the organisation.


During the forum, Dr Majid launched the virtual annual activities and training programme which would benefit 2,200 media professionals from OIC member countries.


The forum also unanimously adopted resolutions, among others, to emphasise the paramount importance of the media, particularly the official news agencies, in raising awareness and educating people on many issues that concern humanity, especially climate change and epidemics.


It also called upon member news agencies and the Union to provide support and assistance to the Palestine News and Information Agency (WAFA) and Palestinian media professionals who are simultaneously suffering from two ‘pandemics’ – the coronavirus pandemic and the occupation of Palestinian territories.



Source: BERNAMA News Agency