Fr. Joaquim Fernandes sdb
MATUNGA, OCTOBER 25, 2011: Catholic communicators from around Asia have been examining the role of media in promoting a culture of peace. Members of SIGNIS, the World Catholic Association for Communication, from twenty Asian countries and territories are taking part in the organization´s Asia Assembly 2011 on the theme 'The Global Association Affiliates' Audiovisual, Broadcast, Electronic and New Media Professionals, as well as academics and others. A separate International Catholic organization exists for the press.
SIGNIS Asia, SIGNIS and Nepal Communications Centre, the communications office of Nepal archdiocese, jointly organized the assembly seminar, which featured talks on "Media for a Culture of Peace- Creating Images with the New Generation". The seminar was held from Oct. 16-22 in Nepal at the Dulekhiel Logue Resort.
In a keynote address, Mr. Augustine Loorthusamy, SIGNIS World President, spoke on the theme – Media for a Culture of Peace: Creating New Images with the New Generation. He affirmed that today the world will be creating images with biotechnology, information technology and the nano technology. The world is a global village and today's youth need to be mentored by truth and proclamation of the word. He said that there are three types of people in today's generation struggling with the new media; namely the digital natives, the digital migrants and the digital tourists. He emphasized that the book culture reflects on the left brain and the digital culture enhances the right and the left brain. He emphasised that the church needs to reflect on human rights, advocacy and network with the secular media.
Seminar participants also heard Indonesian Fr. Yoseph Ispuroyanto speak about his organization´s work to promote peace in his country. He said, "Indonesia is often portrayed as a 'terrorist country' by media reports based on the presence of suspected terrorists and attacks by suicide bombers." He emphasized on the topic "Documentary - Empowering People through documentary". His fund raising strategies impressed the audience and reflected on the inclusive way of getting funds and financing projects for empowerment. According to Fr. Ispuroyanto, promoting a culture of peace continues to be the main thrust for SIGNIS Indonesia. It produced radio and TV programs "to bring people together to build a peaceful election,"
Fr. Bong Osial, sdb spoke on the theme "New Generation and Social Networking" and emphasized on the need to vibe with the new trends. His presentation emphasized on the need to work for peace and create new images through the social networking sites such as Facebook etc.
A panel discussion moderated by Mr. Bernard Canaberal discussed on the issue on "Media Issues Involving the Youth on Consumerism, Media Imperialism and Cyber Bullying". This discussion viewed the family, school, the broadcast industry and from the religious point of view. A holistic discussion took place which was multicultural and enlightening.
The book MediaEd Resource book, authored by Delia Hernandez, Maria Rose Yuzon, Bernard Canaberal and Elisa Hauser was released and launched during the event. This publication was funded through the SIGNIS world organization and compiled by the Philippine Association for Media Education.
Nepal became the first predominantly Hindu nation to join the Church's global communications body SIGNIS during a gathering of the group's Asian assembly in the Nepali capital Kathmandu this week. The assembly unanimously endorsed Nepal's membership on Thursday, the first meeting of the three-day event attended by representatives from twenty Asian countries and six delegates from Nepal. Chirendra Satyal, an organizer for the event, said, "Membership for the country was an important step in the evolution of the country's media and communications sectors. This means Nepal can directly network with members of other countries and our young people can get better access to Catholic institutions in other countries, which offer training in social communications."
Satyal, a journalist and secretary of the country's Catholic media commission, said, "Christian media faces significant challenges in the country. Christian media in Nepal is mainly understood as non-Catholic." Satyal noted that though Protestants operate FM radio stations and produce films and video, and even run small communications centres, they find it difficult to enter the largely secular mainstream with professional productions. He added that the Catholic Church is still struggling even in the field of print media and is challenged to start a national communication centre and train committed Catholics in the field.
The SIGNIS Asia assembly has passed resolutions to introduce a film festival and media awards, along with a branding plan to introduce SIGNIS in delegates' respective countries.
Delegates have also agreed to start a social media education workshop to help young people learn about media usage.
SIGNIS was formed in 2001 through the merger of Unda, the former International Catholic Association for Rradio and Television, and OCIC, the former International Catholic Organization for Cinema and Audiovisuals. The group´s name combines the Latin words "signum" (sign) and "ignis" (fire).