Participants of the “Signis” Assembly Asia 2020

By Agenzia Fides

Nov 26 2020

BANGKOK – The Catholic mass media in Asia are called upon and committed to promoting peace, reconciliation, compassion and solidarity as the continent is hit by the Covid-19 pandemic which has exacerbated many challenges and problems.

“We recognize and live the valuable part of our job as communicators which is to provide authentic and meaningful information. We want to connect all people in order to make them feel closer to each other. We are committed to welcoming and telling and communicating news and stories that are beautiful, true and good and to inspire a culture of peace that overcomes barriers, promotes solidarity and compassion in the midst of confusion and pandemic”, affirms the final communiqué, of the “Signis” Assembly Asia 2020 sent to Agenzia Fides.

In digital form, 170 Catholic communicators and journalists from 20 Asian countries took part in the Assembly.

The purpose of this virtual meeting was to discuss and reflect on the role of media and communication in Asia, in the midst of the pandemic, natural disasters and conflicts. The participants – priests, nuns and lay professionals engaged in Catholic media across the continent – committed to proclaiming the Gospel in the face of these challenges, placing themselves in particular at the service of the most vulnerable in society, the excluded and the marginalized. Among the guidelines put forward is the effort to provide verified information, to work transparently and responsibly to guarantee a dignified life for all, by making heard “the cry of the earth, the cry of the poor”.

“We want to create stories of hope and open ourselves to the same vision of the great narrator, who is the Lord God”, says the concluding statement, sent to Fides.

The members of “Sginis” said they wanted to build in Asia “a network of true human communication in the era of scientific and technological progress, so that the world is our common home in which the inhabitants coexist”.

“As the Body of Christ, the Church constitutes a beacon of hope, a courageous witness to love in action. For us, social media represents an opportunity to be the voice of the voiceless, as our patron Oscar Romero so eloquently said. We are not only God’s microphones, but also smartphone users for God and his people”, underlined Helen Osman, International President of “Signis” in a message addressed to the Asian assembly.

Magimai Pragasam, Indian communicator and trainer, vice president of “Signis Asia” and coordinator of the assembly, underlined: “We need to focus our attention on poor and vulnerable communities, to bring them dignity and human rights. It is our task to be present on social media to spread messages of peace and hope in this difficult pandemic situation that has affected the entire lifestyle of humanity”.

Seungwal Kim, a Catholic media professional in South Korea noted that, speaking about the role of the media in overcoming Covid-19, “it is important for mass media to experience and go through this crisis as an opportunity”.

Win Tun Kyi, National Director of the “Karuna Mission School Solidarity” Myanmar, said: “Let us not lose hope. The day will come when we will go to church for Holy Mass and to receive the Eucharist. The hope that Christ brings us is eternal”. Terence Charles of “Signis Malaysia” reported that the Catholic mass media have been involved in launching a special campaign called “New Normal”, which highlights the “new habits”: wearing a face mask, washing hands regularly, observing interpersonal distance, taking care of well-being and hygiene, staying at home.

“Signis”, an association recognized by the Holy See, is a Catholic movement of professionals in the media such as press, radio, television, cinema, video, media education, Internet and new technologies. It is a non-profit organization with representatives in over 100 countries and is organized in continental sections. (SD-AG) (Agenzia Fides, 24/11/2020)