Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov at the SIGNIS World Congress: “it’s a journalist’s duty to fight hate with facts”
SIGNIS World Congress 2022 Statement
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43.19) We the delegates of SIGNIS, the World Catholic Association for Communication, coming from 34 countries, gathered at Sogang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea from 14-18, August 2022 have discussed and deliberated on the theme ‘Peace in the Digital World.’ Now as we leave this Congress with new insights, awareness, and resolves, we find a great deal to reflect on. We live in a world where the ‘digital divide’ increases the gap between the rich and the poor leading to inequality in accessing the fruits of the digital revolution. We realize that as people become hyper-connected , they are also challenged with socioeconomic, cultural, political, religious, spiritual, and ecological disconnections, leading to isolation, confusion and hopelessness. Online games, pornography addiction, overexposure to violence, and contents of divisive nature in media lead to destructive behaviors. We recognize the devastating effects of fake news on contemporary society such as communal clashes among people. Vulnerable groups in the society are often the major victims of fake news. We realize that equitable digital access and infrastructure strategy can develop a ‘resilient environment’ and support ‘integral human development’. We need to move from individual engagement to community building. As Pope Francis says, ‘God’s style is closeness, compassion and tenderness’. We need to weave the web with truth and beauty of faith and hope. Technology has to be imbued with ethics and thoughtfulness. We believe that it is possible to build a new society by creating awareness that inspires us to work together in peace with people of different cultures, beliefs, religions, and ideologies. We affirm genuine interest in marginalized people and commit ourselves to communicate true and meaningful information to promote their struggles. We urge media practitioners and citizens to take action to protect the human rights of civilians caught up in war and conflict zones. Media professionals especially are enjoined not just to report events but to engage actively in supporting the victims of war and working towards conflict resolutions. By so doing we can pass unto the next generation the legacy of peace. We need to cultivate the journalistic values of advocating for justice, holding authorities to account, and establishing common ground through well-researched context and nuanced explanation, so as to provide a guiding light for our readers, viewers and listeners. We are heartened by the stories of young people from across the world on peace building. Listening to these stories of young people engaged in media activities, we realize their vital role in building communities and promoting peace through modern technologies using creative methodologies. We extend an open invitation to the young people of the world to join hands with us in peace building processes. We feel we leave this Congress spiritually and professionally enriched. We believe that through the renewing power of the Holy Spirit we can achieve peace in the digital world. SIGNIS World Congress, Seoul, 18 August 2022. Download the Statement here.
SIGNIS begins its Sixth World Congress in South Korea
*We call on Catholic communicators to create digital content-based synodal listening that builds lasting peace. As we inaugurate our 2022 World Congress at Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea, we are joined by more than 300 media specialists from five continents including a large group from the host country. To kick off the activities, members of the World Catholic Association for Communications launched an urgent call for peace through digital communication. We follow Pope Francis’ call, in his warm message to the participants of the second World Congress on Asian soil, noting that SIGNIS communicators play an essential role in the construction of peace through the media, through attentive listening with the ears of the heart: "More than to anyone else, the 'apostolate of listening' belongs to you as Catholic communicators. For communication is not just a profession, but a service to dialogue and understanding between individuals and larger communities in the pursuit of a serene and peaceful coexistence." This attentive listening, at the center of communication and synodality, was the main topic of the different interventions that marked the inaugural day of the SIGNIS World Congress. In this regard, SIGNIS President, Helen Osman, noted that "when we communicate deeply, on a spiritual level, when we listen not just to the words, but to the experiences of others, our entire self - mind, body and spirit, becomes engaged in communication. The synodal process creates communion through communication." To add an artistic perspective to communications, young Korean artists, Honam-woodo-nongak Pan gut and Vinari show, interpreted an authentic quest to bring the word ‘peace’ to a ‘front-page dance’ using printed newspapers, available at: https://youtu.be/-4JFHjALtpg. These types of creative searches that build bridges between digital communication and peace will be key to appeal to young audiences and sow hope in the world. United to the voices of the ecclesial, political and communications authorities of Korea, such as, Archbishop Peter Chung Soon-Taic; the prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, Paolo Ruffini; the President of the Organizing Committee of the SIGNIS Congress, Daniel Hang Seung-soo; and the Deputy Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism of Korea, Kim Hyun-hwan, we trust that these days of attentive listening, dialogue, and exchanging of ideas, will resolve current and future differences for a lasting peace that focuses on caring for our common home. SIGNIS communication team Seoul, South Korea, August 16, 2022 Contact: email@example.com