Report by Fr Tom Mangattuthazhe, Director NESCOM

June 04 2021: Communication during the Covid pandemic can never be ignored especially in the context of the multi-lingual and cultural fabric of NE India. NESCOM organised a Covid vaccine communication campaign on June 1st through the zoom platform.

The opening prayer and welcome address were delivered by Fr.Johnson Parackal SDB, SIGNIS - NEI, President. Invoking God's blessing over all the participants and initiatives he welcomed each and every one of the participants, especially Bp. Albert Hemrom, the chairman Bishop of NESCOM and all the speakers.

Most Rev.Albert Hemrom the chairman of NESCOM in his message said that, ‘as members of different media wings of North East India, we are carrying out one of the most important ministries in the Church. At every situation and at every circumstance we are involving ourselves round the clock, almost 24x7 to alleviate the sufferings of the people at this most crucial period of covid 19’.

Bishop Albert continued, ‘the media ministry of the Church is present at every situation, at every place. The primary task of the media ministry is to provide the right information to the people about the reality around us. Media ministry plays an important role in making the people realize their responsibilities in the church and in society. Every effort must be made to help people, who need our emotional help, psychological help, counselling, awareness, and physical help, whatever comes within the purview of helping. In this way, we can provide much-needed help to the people. I invite all of you to make as many audio and video productions as possible in your own local dialects to bring awareness among the people about Covid 19. Let us help the people to take vaccines, obey government rules and SOPs. Let us communicate hope to people, educate through webinars, and help the needy along with the government and NGOs’.

Fr.Pious Shadap the SASCOM director from the Archdiocese of Shillong said that, they publish the stories of covid survivors especially through three of their YouTube channels and other social media platforms.

Sr.Euginia Laloo FMA from Meghalaya recounted the services done by the sisters of her congregation for those who are stressed, depressed by counselling them over the phone. ‘We collaborate with the catechetical department of Nitika of Calcutta province. Each sister is available to give counseling to the young people over the phone. We are also collaborating with the Salesian priests of shilling province in the youth centre which is used as a quarantine centre. Two of our sisters are helping in the youth centres. We have composed a prayer dedicated to the covid patients. We also reach out to the people through online prayer and by sending messages of hope to people. Each province along with the past pupils, present stories of hope and the name of the programme is ‘creating ripples effect’.

Fr.Blasius Tete SDB from Manipur spoke about the two YouTube channels; Divine Echoes and Jivan Dahar Dibruagarh through which media ministry is carried out apart from the normal Dimpur Link and daily updating of the Salesian province website. He also informed that Fr. Igness Hans has created a YouTube channel by the name, YOUth DECIDE: a gift for students and youth through which videos related to students and youth are shared. It is done in three languages English, Hindi and Sadri.
Fr. Felix from Miao in Arunachal Pradesh shared the media work in joining hands with the government administration in the dissemination of covid related information, ‘we are collaborating with the State and local government departments by giving authentic messages to the people about covid 19 and vaccine. The Government of Arunachal Pradesh, under the leadership of the Chief Minister, has come up with an initiative called, ‘we shall overcome’ where positive stories are shared in the form of songs, videos, photos etc. and we collaborate with them. The government officials are appreciative of our services. We also create platforms for people to express their doubts and anxieties through online platforms like the Facebook pages of Miao diocese added, Fr.Felix.

Mr. Allen Brooks the chief guest spoke on the need to foster collaborative media ministry in the region so that we reach out to maximum people.

Fr. Joseph Manikathan the guest of honour during the programme gave his testimony as a parish priest in keeping in contact with the people through telephones, social media and zoom, ‘Due to network and electricity issues we do not have full attendance of our programmes, however, the message is communicated and shared and we do it on a daily basis. There is so much of fear and fear and anxiety among our people and we must resolve to be with them with all our means of communication’.
The participants were unanimous of the opinion that if effective communication is ignored, the vulnerability of the COVID-19 pandemic will be disastrous.

 

 

 

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