By: Kate Obi/Kaduna
The National President, Association of Diocesan and Religious Directors of Communication of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, Reverend Father Pius Uche Ukor has called on the Catholic Media Practitioners of Nigerian (CAMPAN) to always keep their heads above the water and not allow their conscience to be couched in the brown envelop syndrome which is the major bane of the media practice in Nigeria today.
Reverend Father Pius Uche Ukor who stated this in his speech 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 also urged the Practitioner to be positively and clearly distinguished in their profession and practice.
According to him, “It therefore behooves on us as Practitioners to genuinely interrogate our individual and collective roles in articulating a constructive role for the media. In being pro-active in our practice, we have to constantly conscious that catholic media practitioners, objectivity should be our watchword”.
“In our bid to educate, entertain and inform the society, we have to consciously protect the society and the Church in particular through our objective reportage with it’s accustom roles of surveillance, watch dog and gate keeping” Father Ukor lamented.
Reverend Father Ukor however maintained that the Catholic Media Practitioners must always keep their heads above the water and not allow the conscience to be couched in the brown envelop syndrome which is the major bane of the media practice in Nigeria today.
Contributing in a paper presentation tagged: “Responding to the Crisis of Fake News in the Age of Social Media” by the President Centre for the Study of African Culture and Communication (CIWA) Port-Harcourt, Reverend Father Gerald Musa described fake news in a scourge both on local and international level and one of the fastest ways of spreading fake news is through the social media.
He stated that an increasingly number of people rely on social media as their main source of news hence both the reporters and the readers on social media have a moral obligation to exercise some sense of social responsibility in sharing news.
“Fake news is indeed a contemporary epidemic. It has been used for blackmail and to denigrate and destroy the reputation of groups and individual including religious organizations and their leaders. Every facet of life is guided by some ethnic standard. It is ethnically wrong to share news that is unfounded and to write a news report from the figment of imagination” he stated.
Also, in a paper presentation, the Head of Department, Dr. Afamefuna Clement Asadu, Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies, University of Port-Harcourt tagged: “Witnessing to the Church through the Media: “The Role of the Catholic Media Practitioners” observed that new technologies of communication are however actually redefining the church, the meaning, nature and operations of the church are fast changing such as using big screen projection, sophisticated lighting and sounds system.
According to him, a catholic journalist as a member of the Catholic Church is akin to that of an evangelist which uses whatever media platform to do what the church would have done, propagation of the good news according to the catholic faith through the teachers and beliefs of the church in Christ Jesus.
“A catholic journalists is that person Jesus spoke to “You will be my witness in Jerusalem throughout Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth” Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation (Acts 1:8, Mk 16:15).
“From this point of view, a catholic journalist is not only the person that works for the church’s media outfit but also a member of the catholic faith that work with other secular media. The person uses the media of communication to propagate the catholic faith” he stressed.