SIGNIS-Africa in Collaboration with the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development and the Ugandan Episcopal Conference recently organised a capacity-building workshop for Catholic journalists on the theme: “Effective and Efficient Reporting on Migrants and Refugees”.

The workshop saw Catholic Journalists, Media Practitioners and members of the Civil Society involved in the care of Migrants and Refugees gathered in Kampala, Uganda to reflect on better ways of reporting on migrants and refugees in the continent.

Among the people who spoke at the workshop was Bishop Giuseppe Franzelli, President of the Media Commission of the Uganda Episcopal Conference; Bishop Emmanuel Badejo, President of the Pan-African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS); the President of SIGNIS, Helen Osman, the Chargé d’Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in Uganda as well as a representative of the Prime Minister of Uganda.

The Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, His Eminence, Michael Cardinal Czerny SJ, in his keynote address through a video message delved into "the vision of Pope Francis on migrants and refugees" and shared some advice for media professionals. He challenged Catholic journalists to engage in communication that goes beyond providing information that forms and educates people according to the Christian vision. 

Speaking on the topic: The communicative dimensions of the Church’s vision of refugees: An African perspective; the Bishop of Oyo Diocese in Nigeria and President for CEPACS, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo also challenged the Church media practitioners to support the Catholic Social Teaching aimed at caring for migrants and refugees. He said Catholic journalists should inform themselves to understand what the Church teaches in this regard so that they, together with the Church, can support the needs of refugees and migrants. He encouraged Catholic Journalists to develop a reportage that promotes a welcoming culture of the refugees and migrants and not to help exacerbate their plight in host countries. 

As part of the workshop, participants also visited the "Kyangwali Refugee Settlement" in Uganda, a place that hosts about 140,000 migrants, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Somalia. The visit offered the communicators the opportunity to engage with some local civil and ecclesial authorities.

In addition, the participants made a pilgrimage to the Shrine of the 22 Ugandan Catholic Martyrs in Namugongo where the official opening Mass of the workshop was celebrated.

Other dignitaries who graced the occasion with their presence include the Chairman of the Uganda Episcopal Conference Rt. Rev. Joseph Antony Zziwa, the representative of the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, Dr Mercedes De La Torre, the Vice President of SIGNIS, Fr. Paul Samasumo, the Secretary General of SIGNIS, Mr. Peter Monthienvichienchai, Mr Charles Bafaki, Commissioner for Refugees, Office of Prime Minister and Dr Pius Ojara of ED Refugee Law Programme who all made interventions.