By Abuchi Onwumelu
St. Patrick's Catholic Cathedral, Awka was a beehive of activities, Sunday, June 2, when the Awka Catholic Diocese, through the Social Communications Department, joined their counterparts across the globe to celebrate this year's World Communications Day (53rd Edition) in grand style.
The theme of this year's celebration was, "We are Members, One of Another'', Eph 4,25.
The event started with a Concelebrated Eucharistic Celebration presided by the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, who was represented by the Auxiliary Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye.
The Cathedral Administrator, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Matthew Attansey; the Awka Diocesan Director of Social Communications and the Director of Fides, Rev. Fr. Dr. Martin Anusi; the Deputy Director I of Fides Communications, Rev. Fr. Coach Obinna Dike; the Deputy Director II of Fides Communications, Rev. Fr. Cyril Ezeani, were among the priests who assisted the bishop during the Holy Mass.
The bishop, who in his homily spoke about the message of Pope Francis to media practitioners which centred on propagating the truth and communicating life and love to society, exhorted media practitioners to be objective in their reportage and also engage in investigative journalism.
An interactive session followed immediately after the Mass, with the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Anambra State Broadcasting Service, Nze Uche Nworah, as a lead discussant.
Addressing the participants, Nworah harped on the need for internet compliance and savviness, enjoining them to always verify their reports before publishing to avoid sending out unverified reports. He called for expansion of the celebration to enable it to achieve better results.
He stressed the need for journalists to be creative and versatile by embracing fully, the trends of social media, noting that by so doing, they would be generating traffic, as well as being useful to their media outfits.
Eulogizing Gov Willie Obiano for his media friendliness, Nworah wondered why people celebrated other people in faraway countries but failed to celebrate their immediate family members, neighbours, associates and colleagues. He therefore urged people to celebrate people around them, noting that one must start by showing love and care to such people.
He charged media practitioners to take their destiny in their hands by improving themselves, rather than waiting for their employers to do so, even as he expressed dismay at the poor communication skills of some journalists.
For his part, the Awka Diocesan Director of Social Communications and the Director of Fides Communications, Rev. Fr. Dr. Martin Anusi, said the celebration was an annual event celebrated globally. He urged the media practitioners to be wary of the dangers inherent in spreading unconfirmed reports.
He thanked the audience and lead speaker for agreeing to anchor the event, saying said that as journalists, their publications should not cause more harm than good.
The Fides boss urged media practitioners to step up their game by addressing societal problems through engaging in positive write-ups.
Contributing the Editor-in-Chief of Fides Newspaper, Hon. Jude Atupulazi, corroborating the views of Nworah on the need for journalists to step up their game, challenged them to use their various outfits to protect the weak, speak for the voiceless and fight injustices.
The Director and Chief Fire Officer of Anambra State Fire Service; Engr. Martin Agbili, and the Managing Director and Chief Executive officer of National Light Newspaper, Sir Chuka Nnabuife, expressed delight with the turnout of participants.
They urged the media practitioners, especially the younger ones to concentrate on doing their job rather than chasing money. They emphasized on seriousness and commitment.
In a vote of thanks, the chairman of Catholic Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria, CAMPAN and the Director News and Current Affairs, ABS, Sir Gab Okpaleze thanked all for coming and also thanked the bishop for hosting them.
The event attracted people from all walks of life notable among whom were the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Anambra State Council, Sir Emma Ifesinachi; the state Secretary of NUJ, Comrade Emma Udeagha; the Chairman Catholic Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria (CAMPAN), Awka Diocese and the Vice President of RATTAWU Southeast Zone, Comrade Prince Emeka Kalu; the Director of Information and Protocol, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Comrade Obini Onuchukwu; NIPR Member of Council and former Dean Faculty of Arts UNIZIK, Rev. Fr. Professor B. A.C Obiefuna; the State Secretary of RATTAWU, Comrade Tina Ekenta and other media chiefs.