By : C.M. Paul
Chennai - March 4, 2017: A group of Catholic communicators meeting at Chennai for their national assembly called on their counterparts in the mainstream media to communicate hope and trust through their news coverage.
More than 90 members of SIGNIS India, a body of Catholic communicators representing 13 regions in the country, attended the national assembly and study days that addressed the theme: ‘Communicating Hope and Trust in our Times”
In a statement released on February 23, the communicators acknowledged media scenario saying, “Having listened to expert media activists and aspiring media personnel, we realize that we live in a world where media has become part of our ecology and look to it to energize us with hope.”
They also complemented media practitioners who are “committed media activists with human and Christian values who do not make compromises in the midst of competitive, corporate and market-oriented economy.”
The statement affirmed, “The success stories of these bold people inspire us to enter into mainstream media and thus share the message of hope and trust, without compromising Christian ethics and values.”
The statement further cautioned members saying, “We are aware that the mainstream media often carry fake news and paid news which are aimed at TRP ratings and profit.”
It also moaned the fact that, “The space for dissent continues to be shrinking due to strident populism by false gurus, godmen, sectarian political and cultural entities” go unopposed by mainstream media which dare not challenge them “but sets an agenda which is highly opinionated and biased.”
The statement also warned of a growing trend among news channels “of standardization and homogenization of news, which denotes a herd mentality that kills diversity and suppressing the voice of resistance by subaltern groups denying them space in the mainstream media leaving a vacuum with trust deficit of media.”
The assembly called on fellow media personnel to fight the temptation of “sensational and voyeuristic reporting” by taking a bold stand for the cause of the poor and the marginalized.
The group appreciated efforts of netizen youth who are “media savvy opening up new avenues for expression of dissent and recognized the power of social media as a tool for social change.”
Giving practical guidelines to its members to create a culture of hope and trust the group resolved to “to keep a critical eye on media which portray themselves “as agents of caste, political, religious and anti-subaltern groups.”
The group resolved “to give space for voice of resistance by the voiceless and bring to the media stories of hope and inspiration.”
They affirmed the power of social media as a tool for social change, hope and trust and encouraged members and like-minded media personnel to collaborate and support efforts in sharing stories of hope and trust in the society.”
Signis World President Andujar Gustavo was special guest at the events.
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