CAMECO representative recommends Malawi Catholic Church’s use of the media
Malawi, March 27th, 2018 (Stella Zulu, ECM Communication Office). Catholic Media Council representative, Petra Stammen has recommended the Church on its enthusiasm and commitment towards the media and its use in evangelization and development in the country. The recommendation was made during a visit to Catholic media institutions, both electronic and print, as well as the projects which are in preparation in order to understand the reality on the ground on some of the challenges faced by the institutions. “I am in the country on a project visit to see and understand what is happening on the ground; the most pressing needs, what is working and not working to better understand the context once I get funding requests on my desk. This will help me contextualize the projects bearing in mind the reality on the ground,” said Petra. Petra also admitted that she was impressed with the enthusiasm of many Bishops and Archbishops she interacted with on the importance and relevance of the media in the church in Malawi as compared to other countries who are a bit reluctant on the need to utilize the media in the church. “I feel there is commitment towards the media in the church as there is a general understanding of how relevant the media can be as a tool for evangelization and change for the whole society. The Bishops’ commitment towards the use of the media outlets is so crucial because without support from the top, it is very difficult for the media houses to function effectively,” she said. Despite the recommendation, Petra admitted that Catholic media institutions in Malawi are facing a number of challenges including lack of sustainable ways to generate income to maintain the technical infrastructure, run the institutions throughout and the need for capacity building. She said networking can help a lot to solve these problems. “What is key in all institutions is that management should work to achieve more cooperation and interaction to avoid each of them looking to their own businesses. There is need to partner with others even the secular media houses and be in the same boat to overcome the common challenges that are faced,” she said. During this tour, Petra accompanied by the National Communications Secretary, Fr. Godino Phokoso visited Blantyre, Balaka, Mangochi, Mzuzu, Karonga and Lilongwe where some of the Catholic media houses are operating from.
Children, first victims of digital predators
Vatican City, February, 8th, 2018 (Delphine Allaire/Vaticannews). On the occasion of the "Safer Internet Day," launched in 2004, UNICEF called for urgent measures to protect children's digital rights. Such efforts resonate perfectly with what Pope Francis has been saying for five years. Respect for privacy, defamation, paedophilia and pornography: children are now the first victims of these four digital wounds. On February 6th, the day for "a safer Internet", the Pope has dedicated his daily tweet to the virtual threats that hang over children: "We are all called to commit ourselves to protect children in the digital world". 1 in 3 internaut is a child According to Unicef figures published on February 6, more than 175,000 children connect to the Internet for the first time each day - one child every half-second. One in three Internet users is a child, the organization was alarmed. "It's as simple as clicking a link to have a child, somewhere, create a digital trail that those who do not necessarily take into account the best interests of the child can follow and potentially exploit," said Laurence Chandy, Director of Data, Research and Policy, UNICEF. Hence the responsibility of companies to advance the development of ethical standards for data protection and privacy. A concern of Pope Francis The dangers of the digital world have been repeatedly mentioned in Pope Francis encyclical ‘Laudato Si', which, while underlining the fabulous potentialities that these new horizons could represent, also acted as their "superficial" character. With the eruption of digital and its underlying technological revolution, " people no longer seem to believe in a happy future; they no longer have blind trust in a better tomorrow based on the present state of the world and our technical abilities," the Holy Father noted in Laudato Si '. “The accumulation of constant novelties exalts a superficiality which pulls us in one direction. It becomes difficult to pause and recover depth in life. Let us refuse to resign ourselves to this, and continue to wonder about the purpose and meaning of everything”, he continues, stressing the "non-neutrality” of science and technology. The dignity of minors in question in Rome The dignity of minors in the digital world had already been the subject of a congress in October 2017 at the Gregorian University in Rome. The Pope then spoke of the "800 million minors sailing online", referring to the phenomena breaking on the web or the dark net, such as "the dissemination of pornographic images, sexting, harassment, sexual soliciting of minors", as well as crimes such as "online human trafficking or prostitutions". Faced with the development of digital culture, carrying real risks, in addition to its significant contributions, the Pope considered it necessary, during this conference, to develop an interdisciplinary approach that sets the framework for a legislative evolution, which is the only guarantee for "the protection of the dignity of young people, their healthy growth, their joy and their hope".