ABUJA, NIGERIA -
Catholic media professionals and practitioners have been called upon to brace up for the challenges of the social media and counter false publications about the Church through this modern day medium of communication.
The call was made by the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) episcopal Chairman of the Directorate of Social Communications, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah while addressing the staff of the directorate during their first statutory meeting for the year 2017, in Abuja, recently.
According to him: “Today in social media there is anonymity, and with the anonymity of the internet people do a lot of harm. A lot of harm by spreading falsehood, not just half-truth but falsehood. And what makes it more dangerous is that young people now depend on this form of information than on the classrooms and the churches.”
Bishop Onah noted that this has weakened the authorities of the traditional systems of education saying “parents no longer know what their children know, teachers no longer know what their students know in the sense that it is not what you taught that the person is picking up information from everywhere.” Describing this situation as a great challenge, Bishop Onah contended: “We are to ask ourselves how we rise to meet this problem with regard to Christian faith, and the Catholic faith. It’s a big problem.”
While noting that the Church has an enviable organizational structure, the short comings in the communications area should be effectively addressed His words: “I think the challenge we have to constantly face is how to respond to this provocation if I may call it that, and use the media available in a way that is suitable to our own mission and apostolate. it’s not an easy assignment it requires our continuously reinventing ourselves and having the courage of departing from the way we have always done things there are risks involved but they are necessary risk that we must take.
Bishop Onah noted that members of the Catholic Media Practitioners (CAMP), which is to be re-inaugurated nationally in Port Harcourt later this year, will be expected to champion the cause of the Church in countering false publications in the social media against the Church and the Catholic faith.