You Excellency President of the Republic of Azerbaijan,
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
I am honored to extend best wishes to all participants of the 5th News Agencies World Congress and the 16th General Assembly of the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies. This event brings together media professionals from more than one hundred countries to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing journalism today, from the digital revolution to threats to the safety of journalists.
In moving forward, I believe our starting point is clear. This is our belief in the importance of independent, ethical and pluralistic media for human rights and dignity for the rule of law, and good governance, for democracy and sustainable development. Quality journalism has never been so vital for societies everywhere, undergoing deep transformation to serve the public interest with reliable information, to provide a forum for free speech, to act as a watchdog in the interests of all societies, especially in times of crisis and conflict.
In this period, I thank the President of Azerbaijan for this initiative. I am grateful to all participants of the Congress, especially, the representatives of the Organization of Asia-Pacific New Agencies, an organization founded at the initiative of UNESCO in 1961.
I wish every success to this event so we all may work together ever more to strengthen freedom of expression, to advance the free flow of news and to support quality journalism everywhere.