By Vugar Khalilov
On May 14, the members of the Organization of Turkic States met in Istanbul, Turkey, to explore the expansion of media cooperation in the fight against fake news propaganda.
The 4th meeting of the ministers and high officials in charge of the media and information of the Organization of the Turkic States (OTS) was co-hosted by Turkey's Presidency Communications Director Fahrettin Altun and OTS Secretary-General Baghdad Amreyev.
The meeting, which brought together government officials from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, as well as observer countries Hungary and Turkmenistan, aimed to promote media and communication cooperation between the Turkic speaking states.
Addressing the event, the head of the Azerbaijani delegation, presidential aide Hikmat Hajiyev stressed that the Turkic world is facing ongoing misinformation and false news propaganda.
“We have been under such attacks from the first days of Azerbaijan's independence. Especially during the 44-day Karabakh war, we faced all the elements of a hybrid psychological war. We have managed to deliver the truth and justice to the world thanks to the interaction and joint efforts of the Azerbaijani and Turkic media, like in all other areas,” Hajiyev emphasized.
The presidential aide described 2021 as a significant year when the major transformation occurred in the history of the Organization of the Turkic States at the Istanbul Summit.
“At that summit, the Turkic World Vision 2040 document was adopted, which identified very serious responsibilities and tasks for cooperation between our countries in the area of information and media like in other fields,” Hajiyev recalled.
Stressing that the group, which was established within the organization to carry out joint work in a more systemic and coordinated way, would provide support for improving the interaction between member states, Hikmat Hajiyev said that especially the decisions made by the Azerbaijani and Turkish leaders at the 7th Baku Summit in 2019 set cooperation in such areas as media and TV as a target.
Hajiyev recalled the previous year's media forum, which, he said was successful in terms of not just bringing together media leaders from both nations, but also fostering collaboration between relevant authorities.
He underlined the need for media collaboration, identifying it as one of the most essential tools for competition and struggle between countries.
Hajiyev reminded the meeting that Azerbaijan faced injustice in information warfare during the occupation of 20 percent of its historical lands by Armenia, as well as during the 44-day war in 2020.
He added that after the war with the participation of about 30 media representatives from OTS countries a special media tour was organized to Azerbaijan's liberated territories to effectively inform the world media about the devastation carried out by Armenia for 30 years in these lands. Within the framework of the media tour, the guests visited Baku and Ganja and the liberated regions such as Shusha, Jabrayil, Fuzuli, and Aghdam.
He also thanked the Turkish media for their support in preventing the Armenian lobby's provocations against Azerbaijan in the information field, fighting false news, and conveying Azerbaijan's just position during the war.
Moreover, the presidential aide said that Azerbaijan is interested in developing cooperation in the field of information and media with other fraternal and friendly countries within the OTS.
'It is important to coordinate our cooperation and activities in this area to prevent the spread of negative trends, information provocations, and false information against our countries on social media platforms. In this sense, it would be useful to create effective and flexible mechanisms for coordinating our joint activities on social media,” Hajiyev added.
Speaking at the meeting, Altun noted that the solidarity between Azerbaijan and Turkey during the Karabakh war, which resulted in the glorious victory, was also reflected on social media.
“We fought together with Azerbaijan on the information front. As a result, we contributed to the glorious victory,” he stressed.
Altun added that the OTS has improved and become an international organization within a 13-year-long existence and that this event will further enhance the current relationship.
“The leaders have taken important steps towards the development and unity of this organization. We must contribute to further strengthening the unity of our countries. The development of the media is in the hands of those who represent it,” he underlined.
In his video address, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the fight against disinformation is vital in terms of ensuring the safety of political and social life.
“The lies and slanders we witnessed during the Second Karabakh War reminded us once again of the importance of this issue and showed how important it is for us to unite. The war was fought not only on the battlefield but in areas, from written and visual media to social media during the 44 days,” Erdogan stressed.
The meeting, which brought together government officials from OTS member states - Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, as well as observer members Hungary and Turkmenistan – aimed at improving cooperation between the Turkic states in the field of media and communication.
The meeting featured panels session on 'The rising power of public diplomacy in the Turkic world: series-film sector'; 'The digital future of the Turkic world: metaverse'; 'The possibilities for cooperation in public broadcasting in light of the Turkic world's common future vision', and 'Combating disinformation in the post-truth era'.
On the sidelines of the event, Hajiyev met with Kazakh Information Minister Askar Umarov.
At the meeting, Umarov proposed to broadcast programs of Balapan, Kazakh TV, Khabar24 TV channels in Azerbaijan.
He noted that specific measures would be taken to ensure the broadcasting of Kazakh TV channels in Azerbaijan, and invited Azerbaijani specialists to the largest media event in Central Asia - Astana Media Week.
In turn, the Azerbaijani delegation expressed interest in the experience of Kazakhstan in the media sector, including in the production of animation, and its intention to take part in the event.
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