(AGI) Baku, March 4 - The 2016 News Agencies World Congress(NAWC) will be held in Azerbaijan. The fifth internationalcongress of news agencies will be hosted by AzerTAc, theAzerbaijani agency, which will hold the presidency until 2019,announced the agency's Director General, Aslan Aslanov, duringthe celebrations for its 95th anniversary in Baku. "Azerbaijanis a country in full development and a country of tolerance, acountry with a Muslim majority in which religion and State havealways been separate", Alsanov told Italian news agency AGI inan interview on the sidelines of the NAWC Congress, which isexpected to bring in participants from the world's major newsagencies. He said: "It is the country that established thefirst parliamentary republic in the Muslim Orient 97 years ago,that established the first opera house in the East 107 yearsago, where the first daily newspaper was published 140 yearsago and where the first local press agency was opened 95 yearsago." The celebration was attended by Ali Hasanov, the head ofAzerbaijan's Public Affairs Department, who highlighted therole of news media in the ongoing globalisation process. "Competition between news agencies is natural but it must bebased on sound values and universally accepted rules," MrHasanov said. He continued: "In a world under the threat ofterrorism, of separatist movements and religiousfundamentalism, information becomes an important tool inanalysing the development of events, not only in individualcountries but at global level." The Azer-TAc jubilee was alsoattended by Abdullah bin Fahd Al Hussein, the current presidentof NAWC and of the Saudi Press Agency, who hosted the preceding2013 Congress in Riyadh, Clive Marshall, the president of theEuropean Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) and CEO of theBritish Press Association, and Sergey Mikhailov, directorgeneral of Russian press agency Itar-Tass, in addition torepresentatives of international news agencies such as EFE,Reuters, AGI, AFP, Rumania's Agerpres, Turkey's Anadolu, andBulgaria's BTA. "During 70 years Azerbaijan was part of theUSSR and Azer-TAc was only known to Azerbaijanis. Today howeverthe agency exchanges news with 130 countries around the world,"said Mr Aslanov. He continued: "The world is changing and thechallenges are increasing. We news providers have the task ofunderstanding and meeting these challenges." In 2016 Bakuwill also host the 16th general assembly of OANA, theOrganisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies. "We consider allthis to be patent evidence of the importance of our country andits integration in the global information system", concluded MrAslanov. . .