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COMMUNICATION DIRECTORS OFFER PANACEA FOR PUBLICATION OF FAKE NEWS

Catholics communication professionals have called upon to consistently publish the truth, promote justice and peace in the discharge of their duties and hold sacrosanct the ethics of the profession. The call was contained in the Resolutions adopted by Diocesan/Religious Directors of Communications at their first Plenary Meeting for the year 2018, held recently at the Eziafakaego Garden Resort, Nnokwa, near Onitsha, Anambra State. The theme of the meeting was: The Truth Will Set You Free (Jn.8:32), Fake News and Journalism for Peace.

The Resolutions, titled: Proclaiming the Truth as an Indispensable Tool for Peace-Journalism and Panacea for Fake News in Nigeria was signed by Rev. Fr. Pius Ukor and Rev. Sr. Eunice Ikufisile, President and Secretary of the association, respectively. The statement released at the end of the 3-day meeting, called on Catholic communicators to “uphold communication as part of God’s plan for us and an essential way to experience fellowship and resist the symptomatic condition of twisting the truth by being faithful to the pursuit of goodness.”

In the eight-point panacea for countering fake news reportage, the directors proposed among others: “educational programmes aimed at helping people to interpret and assess information provided by the media and take an active part in unmasking falsehood; commence institutional and legal initiatives aimed at developing regulations for curbing fake news on the one hand and promoting journalism for peace on the other and defend the truth while avoiding economic and manipulative reportage which feeds on misinformation and is rooted in the thirst for power, vain pleasure and destroys our interior freedom”.

The directors resolved among other things to introduce enlightenment programmes for the faithful on the rudiments of the World Communications Day message of the Holy Father for them to understand it properly; focus their apostolate on the spiritual renewal and true conversion of Catholic faithful in the country as well as initiate a synergy between the Directorate of Social Communications of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) and the various dioceses in the country in the gathering and processing of information towards ensuring peace and stability in the country.

The directors also called on the government and all other stakeholders in the information and media industry to ensure objective and truthful news reportage and proscribe hate-speeches and fake news in all ramifications.

Speaking on the state of the nation, the directors decried incessant killings of innocent people by Fulani herdsmen is some states of the country, the increasing wave of insecurity and other criminal activities in different parts of the country; and the abduction of 100 students of Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State; and called on the government to wake up to its responsibilities; rescue the abducted girls, provide security for the people of the country and ensure that peace and justice prevail in the country.

The directors concluded: “Believing that falsehood has dire consequences, we restate our resolve to truthfully form and inform the public about the message of the gospel by being interested in what we do bearing in mind that truth involves our whole life which further involves the sense of support, solidity and trust.”

 


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