The Mission of SIGNIS is: To engage with media professionals and support Catholic Communicators To help transform our cultures in the light of the Gospel By promoting Human Dignity, Justice and Reconciliation. SIGNIS is a non-governmental organization that includes members from over 100 countries. As the "World Catholic Association for Communication", it brings together radio, television, cinema, video, media education, Internet, and new technology professionals. SIGNIS was created in November 2001 from the merger between two organizations (Unda, for radio and television; and OCIC (International Catholic Organization for Cinema), for cinema and audiovisual) that were both created in 1928. The activities of SIGNIS cover all fields of audiovisual creation: promoting films or television programmes (it has juries at the important international film and TV festivals: Cannes, Berlin, Monte Carlo, Venice, Ouagadougou...), creating, producing and distributing radio, TV and video programmes, building broadcasting studios, supplying equipment, offering Internet services by satellite, training professionals, encouraging the use of new media, promoting media education etc. The primary objective of all these activities is to promote a Culture of Peace through the media. Since building peace in today’s world necessarily involves the media, SIGNIS and its members have committed themselves to harness the power of the media to promote peace: Through media education: by helping develop the capacity of the public, and in particular young people, to acquire an active attitude, a critical distance, and a freedom to make informed judgements about the media; Through advocacy: by supporting the independence of the media in conflict situations and those who are working to build freedom of expression and human rights; By providing a space for inter-religious and intercultural dialogue and democratic debate; By promoting just and truthful portrayals of different groups in society and to open the possibility for all to participate fully in the communication process, especially the poorest people and countries; By working to help develop the capacity of the media to put individuals, groups and people into communication with each other. By organizing, supporting and promoting events that encourage a Culture of Peace. Download here the Statutes of SIGNIS. SIGNIS Canonical Statutes SIGNIS Civil Statutes
SIGNIS is a worldwide association. Its members are national associations grouped by regions of the world. There are six regions: Africa, Latin America, North America, Pacific, Asia, and Europe, as well as an International Group (composed of international organizations). In addition, individuals and institutions can become associate members. All the regions and the international group are represented on the Board of Directors that decides the policy of SIGNIS. The members of the Board are elected during world or regional assemblies. The decisions of the Board have to be endorsed by the Assembly of Delegates. The Assembly is composed by six representatives from each region and the international group (2 members of the Board and 4 other representatives). The SIGNIS Delegates are elected during regional assemblies every four years. The administrative headquarters of SIGNIS, the General Secretariat, is in Brussels. There is also an office at the Vatican, SIGNIS Services Rome, which provides technical and material support to church and secular organizations all over the world. Subsections Board of directors Assembly of delegates Members General Secretariat SIGNIS Services Rome
Every four years the Assembly of Delegates of SIGNIS has to meet to elect or re-elect its President, Vice Presidents and Secretary General. This meeting is therefore a regular opportunity to bring together members of the Association from across the globe. Organizing a Congress in conjunction with the Assembly is a chance to renew and reinvigorate the members of SIGNIS as they meet together face-to-face, explore common themes, share experiences and are challenged to respond to the changes in society and the media. The predecessors of SIGNIS, OCIC and Unda, held their first Congresses in 1929 and from 1980, they held joint Congresses. The first SIGNIS Congress was held in Rome in 2001, to be followed by Lyon (2005), Chiang Mai (2009), Rome (2014) and Québec (2017). The next one will be held in Seul, in 2021. Subsections Quebec 2017 Rome 2014 Chiang Mai 2009 Lyon 2005 Rome 2001
SIGNIS has chosen as its Patron, Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero (beatified by Pope Francis in 2015) because of his exemplary dedication and courage in his ceaseless defence of the poor and oppressed. He stands as an example for all communicators, as one who lived the values he professed and was willing to give his life rather than be silent in the face of injustice.
In this section, you can find profiles and interviews of SIGNIS members and articles about personnalities who are making the news in the realm of Catholic communications.
SIGNIS publishes annual reports on the activities of the association. The Annual Report 2020 can be downloaded in PDF format here. It is also available online here.
SIGNIS was created in November 2001 from the merger of Unda (International Catholic Association for Radio and Television) and OCIC (International Catholic Organization for Cinema and Audiovisuals), both founded in 1928. They had similar objectives: to bring together Catholics already working as professionals in the media (OCIC in the field of cinema and Unda in radio and television). The interest of Catholics in these new media was understandable. They saw the opportunities offered by the mass media to present their views and opinions on life and the world. And so they naturally became involved in promoting education and values. Catholics were involved in the new art of cinema from its inception (1895), seeing its worldwide influence on families and, above all, on young audiences. OCIC developed a positive approach to this new art. It wanted to offer guidance to audiences and to discover and foster productions which promoted the same values as Christians did. It called for the creation of national organizations dealing with topics such as childhood and cinema, and film reviews (an early form of media education). It also expressed its intention to collaborate with the film industry. One of its concerns was the promotion of ‘good’ films, both for education and entertainment. In the same way Catholic radio producers realized by the end of the 1920s that radio had become, like cinema, an important means of spreading ideas, and could therefore influence the views of millions and connect them to Christian values. At its first international congress (1929) Unda drew attention to the importance of radio for religious, cultural and social life. In that spirit Unda invited Catholics to collaborate with radio companies (private or public) in making religious programmes and to foster Christian values. In the 1930s Catholic broadcasters worldwide had an optimistic view of the development of radio and, later, of the new medium of television. It could transcend frontiers and bring peoples and cultures together. It could be a means of exchanging cultural values, a way of fostering mutual understanding. Radio was thought of as the means par excellence for reconciling peoples, fostering fellowship among nations and promoting peace. Like OCIC, Unda too developed different aspects of media education. After World War II and during the succeeding decades these principles found new expression in cinema, radio and television activities. From the 1960s, Unda and OCIC began to hold joint meetings and assemblies and incorporated work on the small and grassroots media that were then being developed. The 1980s saw the proliferation of video use, soon followed by rapid developments in information technology and the growth of digital media and the internet. Since many members of Unda and OCIC worked in several media, and since media ministry was cross-media, the impetus for a combined Catholic Association for audiovisual media grew ever stronger, eventually leading to the merger of Unda and OCIC as SIGNIS on November 21st 2001. To know more about the origins of OCIC and Unda, please dowload these 2 documents: The origins of OCIC and Unda & OCIC/Unda: the first international activities.