80 Years of "Group 39" – Independent News Agency Alliance Expands Its Circle of Members


Oldest news alliance in the world celebrates 80th anniversary of its founding – dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur and British PA Media new members – “Group 39” President Clemens Pig: “Model of independent and fact-based agency journalism more important than ever”

VIENNA, Sept. 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The world’s oldest independent news agency alliance, Group 39, celebrated its 80th anniversary on 5 September 2019 at a General Assembly in Vienna. An amendment to the statutes under the current Austrian presidency made it possible to add two new members: dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur and the British news agency PA Media officially joined yesterday, Thursday.

80 years of “politically independent news agencies”

The roots of the group, which now consists of ten members, go back to 1939. At the beginning of the Second World War, the Nordic (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland) and the Benelux agencies of Belgium and the Netherlands as well as the Swiss news agency laid the foundation for Group 39 under the name “Hellcommune”, thereby resisting the state-controlled or -influenced international agencies of the time.

Value model for independent news agencies

Then, as now, the members are united by a shared system of values. They are independent of state and government, operate in accordance with the journalistic principle of “true and unbiased news,” and view economic strength as the basis for maintaining editorial independence. “Carrying this value model into the future is one of our central responsibilities,” said independent news agency alliance Group 39 President and the CEO of APA – Austria Press Agency Clemens Pig at the General Assembly. “The model of ‘free flow of information’ and independent and fact-based agency journalism is more important than ever in view of the current global challenges.” Of around 140 news agencies worldwide, only 20 are free of state influence. “The traditional and strong role of independent agencies lies in providing credible and reliable content,” Pig said.

Pooling strengths in digitization and technology

“With the admission of Germany’s dpa and the British PA, we have now united all of Europe’s independent agencies under the umbrella of Group 39,” Pig said. For him, stronger networking and a pooling of agencies at the digital and technological level is inevitable.

A publication commemorating the 80th anniversary of Group 39 presents the functions, members, history, tasks and strategies of state-independent news agencies in Europe: gruppe.apa.at/gruppe-39 [https://gruppe.apa.at/gruppe-39]

Group 39:

Group 39 is the world’s oldest alliance of news agencies that are independent of the state. Its name comes from the year of establishment, 1939, in which the news agencies from Norway (NTB), Sweden (TT), Finland (STT), Belgium (Belga), the Netherlands (ANP), Denmark (Ritzau) and Switzerland (sda) agreed on a new shared network of news. In 1956 Austria’s APA became the eighth member, and in 2019 Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the British PA Media were admitted.

The group follows the principle that “a free press requires free and independent news agencies.” Independence from states, governments and parties is of central importance for the members in order to guarantee journalistic objectivity. All news agencies in Group 39 are organized in a cooperative or similar form, are owned by the media in their respective countries, and are among the most innovative and economically successful news agencies. Group 39 is celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2019.

For further information:

APA – Austria Press Agency Petra Haller Corporate Communication Tel.: +43(0)1-360 60-5710 petra.haller@apa.at [https://www.ots.at/email/petra.haller/apa.at] http://www.apa.at [http://www.apa.at/]

Web site: https://gruppe.apa.at/gruppe-39/

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