Very Rev. Fr. Vincent Wambugu, Rt. Rev. Martin Kivuva, Sr. Gladys

Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops Commission for Social Communications

 Press Release on the 47th World Day of Communications

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Today, the universal church is celebrating the 47th World Day of Communication.  The universal theme, identified by the Pope Emeritus, Benedict the XVI, is Social Networks: Portals of Truth and Faith; New spaces for evangelization. Thus the Church in Kenya, united in this spirit with the universal church, begun the celebration three days ago, under the umbrella of the Catholic Media Festivals, which begun on 9th May and will end today 12th May 2013.  In our celebrations in Kenya, we have focused on various areas of reflection for media use.

Precisely, we have reflected with the primary and secondary schools, as well as university students. We also reflected with families and religious and clergy. We have also spent time reflecting about the State of Kenyan media and the role of Communications and media in promoting the common good.

While congratulating Kenyan media for their role towards building a truly open society, we realize that a lot still remains to be done; especially in the area of evangelization. In particular, we realize that the new media, and especially the social media, need to be evangelized as well. To this effect, it is vital to mention that we are aware of hate messages, ethnic and derogatory remarks being perpetuated on social media, specifically on Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo groups, community chat rooms and mobile phone texts.

It is regrettable that while we have made tremendous steps in improving mainstream media, the unregulated forums are being used to perpetuate ethnic stereotypes and polarization. On this special day of World Communications Day, the Catholic Church in Kenya thus urges responsible use of all forms of media to promote common good.

The Media’s Oversight Role

We call on the media to continue playing its watchdog role and not shy away from pointing out ills in the society. We recognise that an objective media is an important partner in development. Let the media take up its role in educating the people on the constitutional implementation process so that we can have a smooth transition into the devolved government and a prosperous God fearing Nation.

We cannot conclude the celebrations of this day without acknowledging the risks media practitioners find themselves in while discharging their duties. We have media practitioners from Church-owned, private and government-owned media who have lost their lives while on the line of duty. We salute you all on this day and pray that the good Lord grants you all eternal rest. And for contemporary media practitioners, let ethics, professionalism, dedication to God and service to humanity be your driving force.

And for the young and up-coming media, we encourage you to soldier on, learning only the good things from your predecessors. In particular, we celebrate Radio Waumini that is turning 10 years today.

Long live the media! Long live Kenya! God bless Kenya!

Martin Kivuva Musonde
Chairman, Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops Commission for Social Communications