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CATHOLIC COMMUNICATION PROFESSIONALS URGED TO BRACE UP FOR NEW ERA OF DYNAMIC CHURCH COMMUNICATION APOSTOLATE

Catholic media practitioners and communicators have been urged to brace up for a new era of versatile and dynamic communication apostolate for the Church in Nigeria. The call was made by the new Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) Episcopal Chairman for Social Communications, Most Rev. Denis Isizoh in his Keynote Address at the opening ceremony of the first Plenary Meeting of the Association of Diocesan/Religious Directors of Communications, held at Eziafakaego Garden Resort in Nnokwa, near Onitsha, Anambra State.

The opening ceremony was attended by invited dignitaries from all walks of life including: Rev. Fr. Martin Onukwuba, President of the Regional Union of Priests of West Africa; the President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Anambra  State chapter;  representatives of the Catholic Men Organization (CMO); Catholic Women Organization (CWO); Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (CYON) and other faithful from different parts of Onitsha Archdiocese.

Over 50 directors of communications from different parts of the country were present at the 3-day meeting which had: The Truth Will Set You Free (Jn.8:32), Fake News and Journalism for Peace; as its theme. According to the Bishop Chairman, the directors  are the arrow heads of the Church’s communication apostolate in the country and the challenges of the present day communication world demand for more dynamism on their part, if they are to be effective and efficient in the apostolate.

Speaking on the theme of the Plenary meeting, Bishop Isizoh noted that the proliferation of the information dissemination arena, especially through the social media makes the control of communication and information sharing difficult while fake news fly about without control. Noting that this is a great challenge for the communication apostolate of the Church, the Bishop Chairman called on the directors and their associates in the Church apostolate to initiate practical ways and means as well as workable policies  for reaching out with the truth, using all available means of modern-day information channels.

 Bishop Isizoh noted as a result of the emergence of the social media, news now fly around at lightning speed and no room for news embargo, control or delayed reporting of news. He stated that for the Church to be relevant and be part of the present day communication era, there is need for them to be more dynamic, using all available means of communication to reach-out with the Good News of Christ, educate and inform the faithful and other people about the activities of the Church and other important information relevant to the lives of the people.

Bishop Isizoh pointed out that with the advent of the social media which give everybody access to information gathering and dissemination, it is difficult to control news facilitation and dissemination with the ultimate urge for the “truth that will set you free” and facilitate “journalism for peace”. The Bishop Chairman called on the directors to be involved in the modern-day arena of communication, using all available media organs including the social media, the Web and other facilities to disseminate the news about the activities of the Church in their dioceses, thereby providing exemplary methods of disseminating the truth and using the profession to promote justice and peace.

Bishop Isizoh called on the directors to rise up to the challenges posed by modern-day organs of information dissemination, especially the social media; acquire and use these organs positively by “getting the news fast and getting it out correctly fast.” He also called on the directors to make use of other professionals in their dioceses for effective service delivery, where they find it difficult to deliver. His words: “It is important that if you are not interested in being communicator in any diocese put somebody who is interested there to be reporting so that the person covers the events in the diocese fast”.

 

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