By Sara Rajabova
Azerbaijan`s first national news agency Azerbaijan State Information Agency AZERTAC, which is the countryв's only official source of information for local and foreign media, has celebrated the 95-year anniversary.
Founded by the government of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic on March 1, 1920, AZERTAC has gone through a difficult and glorious path. The agency was established as a branch of the TASS agency after the fall of the Democratic Republic. Throughout its history the agency has had its name changed seven times, and returned its historical name only in 1991 when Azerbaijan restored its independence.
On the eve of the 95th anniversary of AZERTAC, President Ilham Aliyev signed executive orders to rename the agency and confer honorary titles and give awards to 13 employees of the agency.
A solemn ceremony was held in Baku to mark the 95th anniversary of AZERTAC on March 2. The event was attended by participants of the meeting of the News Agencies World Council - NACO, heads and representatives of several foreign news agencies, state and government officials, MPs, media and NGO leaders.
Aslan Aslanov, Director-General of AZERTAC said ''our event brings together very distinguished guests and acclaimed world media figures''.
He noted that AZERTAC marks its 95th anniversary at a very remarkable point of time since the world has witnessed a fundamental transformation of the system of values in all spheres of life, changes in stereotypes, emergence of advanced information technologies and social media boom.
''What AZERTAC has achieved so far, particularly in terms of integration into the global information system was made possible thanks to our great leader Heydar Aliyev. We also feel this attention and care from distinguished President Ilham Aliyev, who is a friend of the media. The president has signed executive orders to rename the Agency, and confer honorary titles and give awards of Azerbaijan to 13 employees on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the agency. This is a source of great happiness for us,'' Aslanov said.
He stressed that AZERTAC is the only agency in the country and the region that produces news in 7 languages and video news in 5 languages.
''And it`s no coincidence that Baku has brought together leaders of several key media organizations and news agencies from across two continents, outstanding figures that shape the global information policy, and we are very happy that our efforts are yielding fruits. We are committed to enriching this tradition in 2016-2019 when the agency will hold the chairmanship of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies - OANA and the News Agencies World Congress,'' Aslanov said.
Ali Hasanov, the Azerbaijani President`s Assistant for Public and Political Affairs, for his part, said Azerbaijan was seriously preparing to host the 5th News Agencies World Congress in 2016.
He praised AZERTAC`s role in creating the annals of Azerbaijani history, and promoting the country`s achievements in political, economic, cultural and other areas.
On the sidelines of the event AZERTAC signed cooperation deals with Turkish Anadolu Agency and Slovenian Press Agency (STA), and a memorandum of understanding with Romania`s national news agency AGERPRES.
Meanwhile, members of the NACO have gathered in Baku to discuss preparations for the 5th News Agencies World Congress that will be held in Baku in 2016.
Aslanov said at the meeting that preparations were going on schedule. He assured the Council members that AZERTAC would do its utmost to ensure excellent organization of the News Agencies World Congress.
Abdullah bin Fahd al-Hussein, the president of the News Agencies World Congress and the Saudi Press Agency praised preparatory work for the 5th Congress. He expressed SPA`s readiness to share its experience ''in any issue related to the organization of the Congress''.
AZERTAC was chosen as the host of the 5th News Agencies World Congress and its president for the years 2016-2019 at the 4th Congress held in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, on November 20 last year. The Riyadh event was attended by heads of over 70 news agencies, OANA, EANA, FANA, IINA news alliances, Sky News Arabia, Los-Angeles Times, Guardian, BBC and famous MSN, Google, YAHOO internet corporations.
AZERTAC has signed agreements and maintains successful cooperation with national news agencies of nearly 40 countries and with them it will ink several new cooperation agreements in the next couple of days.
The agency is also expanding its foreign bureaus network and international cooperation. AZERTAC now has bureaus in 21 countries, which are the USA, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, China, Japan, Sweden, Romania, Latvia, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Egypt, Turkey, Georgia, Iran, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Its offices in Azerbaijan cover all regions of the country.