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photoabnaThe Association of the Balkan News Agencies – Southeast Europe (ABNA), was established in 1995, with an aim not only to develop a full cooperation among the news agencies of the region, but also to contribute to the establishment of a climate of peace, friendship, security and cooperation in our region, which was considered the “powder magazine of Europe”.

The founding Conference was held in Thessaloniki on June, 26 1995 with an initiative of the Macedonian Press Agency, while the Association’s 1st General Assembly was held in Antalya, Turkey, on December, 15 and 16 1995, only a day after the Dayton Agreement was signed in Paris, which ended the bloody civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Members

Regular Members of the Association of the Balkan News Agencies are the following news agencies: AGERPRES (Bucharest), ANA-MPA (Athens), ANADOLU (Ankara), ATA (Tirana), BTA (Sofia), CNA (Nicosia), FENA (Sarajevo), HINA (Zagreb), MIA (Skopje), SRNA (Banja Luka), TANJUG (Belgrade), while the following agencies are observers:  ARMENPRESS (Erevan), MOLDPRES (Chisinau), STA (Ljubljana).

ABNA’s Secretariat is based in Thessaloniki, while the presidency rotates every year.

The Peace case, a standing target

Facing any problems and difficulties arose these ten years, ABNA has tried to add a little bit to the Peace case in the Balkans. An important moment in ABNA’s history was when, during the crisis of Imia on January 31, 1996, and although the most of the Media were talking about a Greek-Turkish war, the two Greek news agencies and the Turkish “Anadolu” agreed to have a full cooperation about any news that night. Their reliable information and their telegraphs contributed to the maintenance of peace.

ABNA has always been at the front line of duty whenever emergencies arose in Southeastern Europe.

Cases of violence and extremism

We are distressed by the fact that cases of violence and extremism are repeated at the dawn of the 21st century, when serious changes and differentiation happen. When the collapse of dipolism, globalization of markets and information, communication and knowledge have already brought serious changes over the global social organization and development.

But nationalism can really have catastrophic results. The overstressing of the national characteristics of a nation can lead to introversion, indifference about international facts and isolationism.

The role of news agencies

The role of news agencies and journalists in the new era will remain important as far as it concerns checking the news reliability, checking the sources’ authenticity and helping the reader to create a point of view. In order this to happen, great efforts should be made in the field of vocational training and in the fields of information and promotion of behaviour codes, which will be announced to the public and will be respected by journalists.

Journalists, news agencies and Media generally have a lot to offer to the case of peacekeeping and preserving cultural values. Because what we call a dream of life, we live it with hope. With faith, sacrifice and devotion. We are tied with the most simple emotions and we are more generous. Lovers of art, music and spirit. Which spring from our traditions. And we praise with our words our mores and customs, which have only slight differences. We face sorrow, pain, joy and happiness in a parallel way and through writing. We copy common values. That’s why we look like a warm, hospitable hug, like an excitement without second thoughts. With our heart, brain, soul we hug man.

With prudence and virtue

It would give great pleasure and happiness if our people with more prudence, and virtue connected the sources of moral values and comforted against the machines and weapons this indissoluble power, to avoid fading by the storms.

Journalists, poets and writers of our region and the whole world, should stop planting flowers for the funerals of our dreams. People read and love us because we expose the truth and lead them. People ask to know their destiny from us. So we should comfort our moral to any misery, block the way to any “hawk” propagandizing war and destruction.

During the 20nth century the case was about the free opinion right, today it is about qualitative information. About the increase in the number of articles, reportage, and analysis which contribute to the social, economic and cultural development and evolution of people, maintenance of their cultural identity, promoting the ideal of Democracy and Peace.

Peaceful resolution of differences

Our era should be constantly orientated to peaceful resolution of differences, promote understanding and friendship among people, so as to prevail constant values, like respect of the Other, multicultural coexistence and minority rights. We, the people of the Mass Media, should work in order to beat in a social level the ideas of nationalism, xenophobia and dedication to the doctrine of military power, which have in many cases sealed the previous century.

ABNA continues its work

We are proud to say that ABNA, in these twenty years, is the only interbalkan organization that managed to survive and continues to function, although it has faced a lot of adversities. It is well known that the example of ABNA has been followed by many other interbalkan associations after 1995, like medical associations, lawyer organizations, journalistic associations, business organizations and many others, which unfortunately ended up to be short-lived. In contrary, our Association has managed to maintain and develop, because from the first moment it set high targets and visions, beyond and over the interests of each country separately, far away from religious, political and other differences which diverted the people of the region. Our choices have so far be proven to be correct and facts have justified us. And our aim to demolish the borders of information in the Balkans is proven everyday to be more and more in time, more and more necessary.