David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Anambra State, Bishop Hillary Okeke, has tasked journalists to propagate truth and love with their profession.
This was even as the bishop frowned at a media report that a priest in his diocese was not attacked during the sit-at-home exercise by members of pro-Biafra agitators.
Okeke made the call in his message during the celebration of 2019 World Communication Day (WCD) at Assumption Cathedral, Okwuani, Nnewi, yesterday.
At the event with the theme: “We are members of one another from social network communities to human community,” the bishop, who was represented by his Vicar General, Monsignor Patrick Ezeobata said objectivity should be the guiding principle for all journalists and media professionals.
“The message is that every medium should communicate the truth, love, unity and peace. These are attributes of God. Any one in the business of communication should exhibit these attributes. We must avoid conscious distortion of facts that abound in the system, eschew fake news, investigate and state facts without fear or favour,” he said.
The bishop said the mainstream media should uphold the ethics and principles of the profession to preserve its sanctity as source for reliable news as social media has come to stay.
He cited the case of Rev. Fr Festus Ezeamaka, a priest in the diocese, who was brutalised by some pro-Biafra youths on May 30. The news was communicated widely through the social media, only to be “flagrantly” denied by the perpetrators through the mainstream media the next day.
He said such a stand does not give the media a good image.
“Social media has made the world a global village, for instance, a priest in the diocese was attacked by some pro-Biafra youths in Nnewi. The social media spread the news of the incident with photographs and calls came from every part of the world including Rome.
“But that same incident was denied by the perpetrators in the conventional media. Journalists in the mainstream media must report objectively and don’t lend themselves to fake news. which the social media has been accused of,” he said.
Welcoming participants at a lecture session, Director of Communications, Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Rev.Fr Martin Onwudiwe, described the advent of social media as a blessing to humanity, but lamented that it was reducing real human interrelationships.
Onwudiwe prayed that the integration would create a new attitude that would engender healthier use of the social media for positive development.
“Regrettably, the world is tending towards exaggerating the use of these new means of communication to the extent that our social life is being displaced by the artificial world of the social media, “ he said.
Rev. Fr Alloysius Orakwe, General Manager of Sapientia FM, Onitsha, delivered a keynote address entitled: “Between social network and human communities: Staying positive in a negative world.”