The waning International Islamic News Agency (IINA), a media body of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), will be given a new breath of life by the end of the year if a plan to revive it goes well.

A study to draw up a new roadmap for a fresh plan of action for the 35-year-old body will be conducted soon and it will be fully financed by the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

The decision to carry out the study was made here today at the inaugural meeting of the new Board of Directors of IINA which was established at the seventh meeting of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers in Jeddah last September.

The IINA board members comprise nine news agencies — three each from the Middle East, Africa and Asia with Saudi Arabia as the secretariat. Asia is represented by Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey.

At today’s one-day meeting, Malaysia was represented by Datuk Zakaria Abdul Wahab, deputy editor-in-chief of the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama). Zakaria also sat in as an observer for the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) whose presidency is held by Bernama.

Malaysia, Turkey and Senegal have been assigned by the meeting to draw up the terms of reference for the conduct of the study to be done by a private entity to be decided by the IDB later.

OIC Secretary-General Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, in his remark at the board meeting, said this might be “the last opportunity for the OIC to do something concrete and useful for IINA in light of the current international situation affecting Islamic countries and the Muslim peoples who could no longer tolerate that their official information and media apparatus and instrument of joint Islamic action can remain so crippled and ineffective”.

He said the new plan to revive IINA should be carved with a clear vision and inspired by a rational mindset, challenges and demands of this new millennium.

“That is, a vision focused on revitalising and remoulding IINA in the shape that the founding forefathers of the OIC had in mind, more than 30 years ago,” he added.

He said IINA should be in the vanguard of Islamic information and media as both the instrument and beacon that could rally Muslims, defend their vital causes and protect their higher interests on the international stage, and convey their views and perspective to those outside the Islamic world.

The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Culture and Information of Saudi Arabia, Iyad Amin Madani.