World Communications Day What Practitioners Say

The World Communications Day is an annual event held by the Catholic Church to celebrate the achievements of the media and focus on how best to use same to promote the gospel. It was established in 1967, as an annual celebration that encourages the media to reflect on the opportunities and challenges that the modern means of communication afford the Church to propagate the gospel.

Fides’ Editor-in-Chief, Jude Atupulazi, seeks the views of media experts on this year’s celebration and their expectations on the way forward.

Excerpts.

Sir Emma Ifesinachi, Chairman, NUJ, Anambra Council

World Communications Day is a day set aside to critically look at how far man has used communication to bring understanding, peace, harmony, as well as engender development and growth in the world.

Communication is life. Without it, life is meaningless as there won’t be that co-existence required for man to live as an entity.

”Come and See: Communicating and Encountering People Where and as They Are”, the theme of this year’s WCD, tends to emphasize the position of effective and efficient communication in making man a social being who needs one another in achieving their communal goals.

Sir Emma Ifesinachi

Man needs the right communication to live well and be a companion unto his neighbour. Man’s purpose on earth can only be achieved if the right quantity of communication exists around him.

I commend the Catholic Church for persistently and consistently holding this annual event, and hope that man would imbibe the right communication for the good of himself.

Mr Gab Okpaleze, Director, News and Current Affairs, ABS, Awka; Chairman, Catholic Association of Media Practitioners of Nigeria, CAMPAN, Awka Diocese.

The World Communications Day is one of the best legacies the Catholic Church has bequeathed to the entire globe. Every year the Pope uses the celebration to call attention to specific areas of the operations of media practitioners with a view to getting it right for human development, mutual coexistence and eventual falling in line into God’s purpose of creation.

Chief Uche Nworah, PhD

This year’s theme, ”Come and See”, appears to me, a call for a return to investigative journalism, participant observation, checking and cross checking of facts, the traditional method of dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s. In this era where the social media appears to be leading the human race into celebration of fake news, the Pope is calling for accurate representation of issues, events, and in fact, factual reporting.

The fake news syndrome has left the world without hope of being sure any longer. Man is left in confusion of what to believe, and also in agony of bearing the brunt of ‘communication explosion’, as he is daily inundated with wars and rumours of wars, tears, sorrows, and blood. And so, this year’s theme could not have been more pertinent than now when man needs to be drawn away from the high lighting of hopelessness, and close to the reality of God. The Holy Father has called media practitioners to be testifiers of the truth, and other virtues, so that man can not only ‘come and see’, but also, ‘taste and see’ that the Lord is good.

Chief Uche Nworah, PhD; MD/CEO, ABS, Awka

Mr Gab Okpaleze

The Theme of this year’s World Communications Day, “Come and See: Communicating And Encountering People Where And As They Are”, is simply reminding mankind of our humanity, that we are one human race, and to always love one another.

The theme reminds me of the popular song by American singer, Diana Ross, who sang ”Reach out and touch somebody’s hand, make this world a better place If you can”.

It is encouraging us to break down the walls of hate and discrimination, to promote and encourage diversity, tolerance and mutual understanding, irrespective of our tribe, race, religion, political leaning, skin colour, or any other differences that may have been keeping us apart from relating mutually with one another.

This message is apt in today’s world, especially in Nigeria, where unemployment, hunger, ethnic violence, religious conflict, hate speeches, armed robberies, kidnapping and other crimes, continue to dominate the headlines.

The message holds out hope, away from the fear and darkness that envelop our country. If we sojourn, encounter and accept one another, with mutual love and understanding; that is already a positive step towards promoting an atmosphere of peace, and healing our land.

Sir Chuka Nnabuife

Chuka Nnabuife,MD/CEO, Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation ANPC, Awka

World Communication Day Reminds Us of Fast-Diminishing Factors in Global Media Practice

Often, when many discuss communication, they dwell mostly on the art and science of putting out messages.

Not many remember the two other vital elements in communication, namely: observation and comprehension.

These two factors go together with expressing the message to establish ‘complete communication’.

The theme of this year’s World Communications Day, WDC, ”Come and See: Communicating and Encountering People Where and as they Are”, draws attention to this in a very interesting way.

In the basic communication loop we have the message; the channel or vehicle of passing the message; the receiver and the feedback.

The unstated factor is witnessing (observing or having good knowledge of) the issue that will make the message which comes before the message, and good understanding of the environment of the issue, such as the location, culture, personalities and properties (technical, psychological, faith orientation, values, polity, level of enlightenment etc) of the producer, provider and receiver of the message.

Chinelo Udeh-Akpeh, PhD

Without taking good cognizance of these factors, the communicator may not have the right facts or connect effectively to the receiver. The giver of the message should also know his audience how they are and communicate to them clearly in the way they will understand.

Without this, he will not get the appropriate feedback.

If a message fails to get the desired feedback the communication has not succeeded. The theme of this year’s, the 55th World Communications Day, as His Holiness, Pope Francis, captured it, ”Come and See: Communicating and Encountering People Where and as they Are”, addresses this seldom held discourse in contemporary social communication where huge technological advances have also made armchair reporting almost a norm. Many communicators seem not eager to go out to the places they cover to reach the real sources, they appear not interested in knowing the cultures or peculiarities of the areas because through the worldwide web, social media, et al, they can source materials and feed their audiences.

Eventually, the danger of single narrative expands. Nobody will gain if such a situation continues. The whole world will bear the brunt.

Therefore, this year’s WCD puts out a clarion call to the global communication sector to step out and make the world better through its operation.

Dr Mrs Nelo Udeh-Akpeh, HOD, Research and General Studies, NTA Television College, Jos

Dr Henru Duru

This is an annual event that underscores the importance of communication in the scheme of things. When they say “Communication is key”, some may not understand how enormous the statement is, and it applies to all conditions and levels.

The import of communication compelled the Supreme Pontiff in 1967, to institute this event that touches on the opportunities and challenges of modern communication.

For 2021, the Holy Father has chosen the theme, ”COME AND SEE” which is the first statement of our Saviour, just after His baptism. This theme is a charge on the people to be communicated wherever and however they are.

This requires journalists and everyone in the position of disseminating information, to uphold the ethics, as well as engage in clear, honest and objective reportage.

Living in a world devoid of peace and virtues, burdened with insecurity and falsehood which are worsened by political, economic, and social problems; then complicated by the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, the need to practice ethically becomes paramount. When we analyze the problems caused by fake news and social media hype, we find reasons to admire the courage of journalists and the challenges they face.

It is my opinion that journalists be encouraged in all possible ways realizing that to a large extent, they hold the key to world peace. They, journalists, should also bear this theme in mind as it summarizes the elements and objectives of news.

Dr Henry Duru, Lecturer Dept of Mass Comm, Unizik

Having observed the World Communications Day for many years now, I can say it’s a day set aside by the Universal Church to reflect on the role of communication in human progress – political, economic, social, cultural, moral and religious progress. This is usually with particular emphasis on the part played by professional communicators, such as journalists, broadcasters, entertainers, etc. However, the realities of the internet with other emerging communication platforms (which have increasingly empowered ordinary individuals to originate and disseminate messages) are bringing about a shift of emphasis from communication professionals to all of us. This is evident in the messages of the Pope on World Communications Days held in the past few years. So in a nutshell I see it as a day for reflection on how and what we communicate to and with others in the light of Christian principles. It’s a day to remind ourselves that communication, given its far-reaching implications for society, ought to be undertaken with utmost deference to Christian charity.

The theme of the Pope’s message is definitely deep. It calls on us to remove all barriers, including prejudice, which hinder us from really experiencing others as they are. It calls for openness and willingness to come close, willingness to listen to others, to understand them intimately, so as to form a really strong human bond.

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