Kaula Lumpur: April 4, 2017. (By Ayyaz Gulzar) SIGNIS Asia’s organized its first journalists’ meet entitled “Communicating Hope and Trust in our Time”. Journalist meet commenced on 9th March evening with an introductory session and a time of fellowship in CCM Ecumenical Center in Kaula Lumpur, Malaysia.
Mr. Lawrence John, Vice President SIGNIS World welcomed all the 20 attendees from 13 Asian Countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Korea, Philippines and Singapore.
In first session on March 10, Dr. Jim McDonnell, Secretary Journalism desk in an introductory note said: “SIGNIS has now established a journalism desk to coordinate the support for journalists at International Level and to respond to the challenges of the fake news.
Globally we are also aiming to promote ethical professional journalism in the new multimedia era, forming a network of journalists and to strengthen solidarity among Catholic journalists and to support networking through ties and use of Social media, Dr. McDonnell added.
He also helped the attendees to understand the Pope’s message for ‘World Communication Day 2017’.
In the next session, Mr. Augustine Anthuvan, SIGNIS Singapore led participants to share their opportunities and challenges they are facing in their countries. He also helped participants to pairs to navigate realities and develop ideas to work together.
He also urged attendees to think about partnerships and look forward for possibilities to collaborate and work.
On March 11, Mr. Alan John, director ‘Asia Journalism Fellowship’ from Singapore assisted attendees to spot fake news, lies and propaganda. Giving a bunch of handouts he helped participants to focus on the source, headline and content of the news to learn about the misleading information, biased content, content that contains hatred and unnamed quotes.
Mr. Terence Fernandes, a media and perception management consultant from Malaysia guided the participants for being relevant in our times and to learn about feelings v/s facts.
Sharing his views on ‘communicating Hope and truth’ Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur urged Catholic Asian journalists to be honest in their writings and always work to publish the truth.
He said: “We are in race of breaking the news first, whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter, the juicier the better, so that sells your papers but as a Catholic it goes against our belief and we have to focus on truth and reality”.
“But by the end of the day, I think, just to say that, you be the message. You be the message yourself – your lifestyle, your values, the person that you are. I think that speaks volumes. You can write anything your bosses ask you to write or you can resign because you don’t want to write what your bosses ask you to write. The decision is yours to be a person of integrity”, Archbishop added.
He left attendees with a challenging question: “Are you a Catholic who happens to be a journalist or are you a journalist who happens to be a Catholic?"
All the attendees were awarded with the certificate of participation.
The program ended with a discussion on proposals and manifestos. Participants were advice to set up connections with Catholic media professionals in their respective regions, province and country.