Balkan news agencies join forces to fight fake news at Thessaloniki conference organized by ANA-MPA

Eleven countries and the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) congratulated Greece, through the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA), for a very successful General Assembly and Conference of the Association of the Balkan News Agencies-Southeast Europe (ABNA-SE) in Thessaloniki on March 20-22.

The conference on “The role of news information in the new Balkan reality” concluded with the signing of the ‘Thessaloniki Declaration’, an initiative of ANA-MPA which chairs the ABNA-SE chairmanship until September. The Declaration calls for closer collaboration among ABNA-SE members to fight the recycling and dissemination of fake news.

At the same time, ABNA-SE’s General Assembly supported an ANA-MPA motion to expand and receive as new members the Italian news agency ANSA, bringing the membership to a total of 12 national news agencies, the rest being ANA-MPA (Greece), Anadolu Ajansi (Turkey), Agerpres (Romania), ATA (Albania), BTA (Bulgaria), FENA (Bosnia-Herzegovina), HINA (Croatia), CNA (Cyprus), KosovaPress (Kosovo), MIA (North Macedonia), and MINA (Montenegro).

Attending the conference were, among others, European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, Deputy Tourism Minister Sophia Zacharaki, Secretary General for Communication and Information Dimitris Galamatis, Thessaloniki Mayor Constantinos Zervas, EANA Secretary General Alexandru Ion Giboi, Albanian Audiovisual Media Authority President Armela Krasniqi, Executive Officer and Board Member of Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (ICGB) AD Teodora Georgieva, as well as prominent academics, diplomats, and business leaders. Deputy Interior Minister responsible for Macedonia-Thrace issues Stavros Kalafatis delivered a welcome message.

Themes of the conference included the significance of information dissemination on geopolitical developments in Southeast Europe, the path of Western Balkans toward Europe, the connectivity networks, and bridges of collaboration and growth in the greater region. “Our conference aims at detecting geopolitical developments in Southeast Europe and highlight the significance of news information,” ABNA-SE President and ANA-MPA General Manager Emilios Perdikaris said. The theme, he noted, “highlights a future aim, which could be none other but the incorporation of the Western Balkans in Europe.”

Perdikaris said ANA-MPA’s presidency is laying a foundation that will allow ABNA-SE to “claim a different news information role, a substantial, unifying one free of regionalisms, nationalisms, and anachronistic attitudes, with the sole obligation of truth against fake news.” Thessaloniki was chosen as the site of the conference because of its geographical position, role, and history in the heart of the Balkans and Southeast Europe, he noted.

A minute’s silence was observed at the beginning of the conference over those who died in the railroad collision at Tempi.

On Tuesday, news agency representatives were given tours of Aristotle’s School, the Center of Industrial Heritage ERIA (textile history), the city of Naoussa, and the winery of former Thessaloniki mayor Yiannis Boutaris. Back in Thessaloniki, they were given a tour of Cisco’s International Center of Digital Tranformation and Digital Skills, where they were briefed by company officials and discussed the Center’s operation and the innovative solutions developed on its premises by startups and educational and research institutions.

In addition, the conference attendants tasted the cuisine of Thessaloniki, UNESCO’s only City of Gastronomy in Greece, dining at central restaurant. The dinner was provided in their honor by Deputy Regional Director of the Thessaloniki Metropolis and Tourism Organization President Voula Patoulidou.

ANA-MPA signed bilateral agreements, in the framework of ABNA-SE’s conference, with Albania’s ATA and Romania’s Agerpress, besides signing the Diversity Charter, a European Commission initiative to promote diversity in Greek businesses.

The Greek agency organized a “green” conference, utilizing online platforms to provide information material and disseminate news, and any paper (used sparingly) came from recycled paper. ANA-MPA used a microsite for bilingual (Greek and English) promotion of the conference, with banners hanging on reusable metal frames. Photos were uploaded online and the conference schedule was only available online through a QR code on the attendees’ IDs.

For more information: (Greek) (English)

The conference video: (Greek) (English)



MEGA SPONSOR: Aegean Airlines
GOLD SPONSOR: HELLENiQ ENERGY, Papastratos, AVAX, MYTILINEOS, CISCO – International Centre of Digital Transformation and Digital Skills
SUPPORTERS: General Secretariat for Media and Communication, Central Macedonia Region, Thessaloniki Municipality, Greek National Tourism Organisation, Tourism Organisation of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki Port Authority, European Interbalkan Medical Centre, the Association of Winemakers of Northern Greece and Elenidis