By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
In the present day society where the means of communication are sometimes used as tools to propagate bad news, falsehood and hatred, the Catholic Association of Media Practitioners of Nigeria (CAMPAN) has been called upon to be the salt of the earth and light of the world.
They have also been told to respond by using the modern information technologies to correct anomalies in the church and in the world by responsibly discharging their duties and by promoting a meaningful and healthy dialogue and relationship among all peoples irrespective of their religious, ethnic nationalities and affiliation.
The Bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese, His Grace, Most Reverend Camillus Etokuboh made the call in his welcome address at the National Conference of Catholic Association of Media Practitioners of Nigeria (CAMPAN) with the theme: “Developing a More Pro-Active Media for the Nigerian Catholic Church” held at Corpus Christi Cathedral Port-Harcourt South-East, Nigeria Tuesday.
Most Reverend Camillus Etokuboh while declaring the Conference Open was of the opinion that “Communication media is an indispensable tool and of paramount importance to proclaiming the Good News of salvation. Today, it is a thing of joy to see a good number of Catholic Media Practitioners who have traveled from all Dioceses in Nigeria to Part-Harcourt to attend this National Conference and a gathering of this magnitude shows the importance of the social media in the life of the Catholic Church in Nigeria”.
“In his message for the 51st World Day of Communications, entitled “Communicating Hope and Trust in our Time”, the Holy Father, Pope Francis encouraged all the media practitioners to engage in constructive form of communication that reject prejudices towards others and foster a culture of life encounter” he quoted.
His Grace urged the Catholic Media Practitioners to be courageous in making good use of the various means of communication that modern theology offers and to respond with new zeal, new method and new expression as they have the responsibility to help the leaders, youths and the generality of people in the proper use of social media rather than using it to promote violence, obscenity and criminology.
The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN)’s Episcopal Chairman of the Directorate of Social Communications, Most Reverend Professor Godfery Onah in his key note address described the Catholic Media Practitioners as the mouth of Christ in the world through their various media outfits.
He urged them not just to have courage but the personal pride of their profession as catholic media practitioners and using every means at your disposal to present to the Nigerian the only workable alternative in the society which is Love, Justice and Peace”.
“We are being presented with an alternative that will not work an alternative of violence as the only root of progress in the world but we know that the real workable means to progress is love and justice. That is what catholic represent and that is what we are”.
“But you are there in the world; you are the mouth of Christ in the world through the various media outfits you are working with. It is a vocation and opportunity you have as Catholic Media Practitioners and a responsibility you cannot obligate without disappointing your Lord and Master.
“Look, my dear friend. You must have not just the courage but the personal pride of your profession as catholic media practitioners working out there and using every means at your disposal to present to the Nigerian the only workable alternative in the society which is Love, Justice and Peace”.
“I want to tell you that you are the most powerful, even duo you are the least paid” he lamented.
Most Reverend Professor Godfery Onah informed that in a world that seems to feed on bad news, the media are challenged not to give up on the possibility of tuning the human mind to the truth which is the source of all good news but have a moral obligation as Christians and especially as Catholics,
“In a world that seems to feed on bad news, we are challenged not to give up on the possibility of tuning the human mind to the truth which is the source of all good news. We have a moral obligation as Christians and especially as Catholics, since we claimed that we are the heirs of that full revelation of God in Jesus Christ, the wholeness of good for the salvation of the world, and the happiness of individual we have a moral obligation to share the good news”.
Bishop Onah urged participants to have passion for the truth, and service of humanity stressing that they should be proactive and not reactionary.