Journalism ‘searchlight’ should target the poor and voiceless in society – Communications Director
The director of communications of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos, Rev Fr Alexander Dung, has called on journalists to target the poor, marginalized and the voiceless in the society. He made this known in a speech presented at the Catholic Media men of the Jos Archdiocese on Saturday, which was organized by the media practitioners to mark this year’s 50th World Communications Day celebration.
He said, “The Pope want us to target the poor, marginalized and the voiceless in the society,” observing that, “a lot of emphasis is placed on politics and individual achievements of the highly placed in the society, while the interest of the downtrodden is hardly heard.” He observed that, keeping concerned authorities informed on the plight of the poor is a ‘gesture of mercy’ in the right direction.
The theme of this year’s World Communications Day, “Communication and Mercy, A Fruitful Encounter.” By this he said, reporting events and the lives of the less-privileged of the society is in line action, adding that communities that are ravaged by poverty and war can also be touched by way of communicating mercy to them. “Thus, every massage is information as long as we put our reports in a particular manner,” which implies that the question we must always ask is, “Will what I am reporting build up or destroy?
According to him, “It is within the power of journalists to promote peace or war by the emphasis we place on certain events and people.”
Rev Fr. Dung said, “This year of mercy that we celebrate World Communications Day, there is the need for us to revisit the ethics of journalism.” He further cautioned journalists to put their tools and talents into positive use.
“We have the moral obligation to build up the consciences of our audience; the days of passive journalism are over. Let us embrace and promote active and conscious information management, and it is through this platform that we can exercise and promote our faith.
Other activities to mark the day were celebration of Mass on Sunday and visit to IDPs, which took place on Sunday with the President of the Catholic Bishops, who is the Archbishop Jos – Most Rev Dr Ignatius Kaigama, who charged the Catholic Media to work towards building a peaceful nation. He said, the Pope’s message for the 50th anniversary is aimed at building a just and peaceful society.
In his message, Pope Francis called on journalists to practice mercy as the distinctive trait of all that she is and does, what we say and how we say it. “Our every word and gesture ought to express God’s compassion, tenderness and forgiveness for all.”
He said, “Love by its nature, is communication; it leads to openness and sharing,” adding that, “if our hearts and actions are inspired by charity, by divine love, then our communication will be touched by God’s power.”
The Pope called on the media to communicate with everyone without exception. He reiterated that, the Church’s words and actions are all meant to convey mercy, to touch people’s hearts and to sustain them on their journey to that fullness of life, which Jesus Christ was sent by the Father to bring to all.
He called on the people of good will to rediscover the power of Mercy to heal wounded relationships and to restore peace and harmony to families and communities.
Pope Francis urged those with institutional and political responsibilities, and those charged with forming public opinions, to remain attentive to the way they speak of those who think or act differently, or those who may have made mistakes.