World Communications Day: Clerics reiterate role of media

Ukamaka Okafor

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The 58th World Communication Day has ended with calls from Nigeria’s Catholic Bishops reiterating on the role of media in human communication and society.

With the annual Media related theme, Pope Francis themed the 2024 World Communication Day: “Artificial intelligence, AI, and the wisdom of the heart: towards a fully human communication” 

The Catholic Bishop of Lafia Diocese, Nasarawa State, North Central Nigeria, David Ajang on behalf of Nigeria’s Catholic Bishops made this known while addressing Journalists at  St John Catholic Church, Mararaba, a suburb of the State, in a closing Mass that ended the week long celebration of this year’s World Communication Day.

According to the Bishop, attention has been drawn to the urgent need of understanding the revolutionary technology of Artificial Intelligence and its impact on evangelisation, information and communication.

 Highlighting the significance of media on humanity and the world, he reiterated that “the Church recognizes the power of media as gifts that can foster human progress and development, but also warns of their potential risks if not approached with discernment and responsibility” his words.

Buttressing further on the application of AI Bishop Ajang  spoke on five key lessons for special attention

“First AI is transforming the world of information and communication, affecting everyone, not just professionals. We must acknowledge the excitement and confusion that comes with rapid innovation and take necessary precaution.Second, starting with the heart, Pope Francis emphasizes the importance of the human heart, symbolizing freedom, decision-making, integrity, and unity. We must engage our emotions, desires, and dreams, and encounter God in the inward place of our heart.Third, the wisdom of the heart enables us to integrate various aspects of life, put ting God first above all things. It is in this way that we can become truly and fully human and be guided toward a purposeful life and authentic communication.Fourth, as technology advances, we must not lose sight of our humanity. Rather, we must engage AI with openness and sensitivity, starting from our humanity, and strive to become a new kind of human being with deeper spirituality, freedom, and maturity. AI must never replace human beings. Fifth, Artificial Intelligence is a tool that can effectively build community if properly deployed, but it remains subject to the Almighty Intelligence (God), and to His creatures (human beings who are made in His image). Thus, we still need human community, and must do everything to foster it.”

As the globe navigates the technological age, people have been urged to embrace the wisdom of the heart, and make communication to be fully human, guided by the Holy Spirit and the love of God and neighbour.

In the Catholic Church in Nigeria, the universal one-day celebration has been expanded into a week-long media literacy program with  the celebration bringing the event to an end.

World Communications Day was established by Pope Paul VI in 1967 as an annual celebration that encourages reflection on the opportunities and challenges that the modern means of social communication (the press, motions pictures, radio, television and the internet) afford the Church to communicate the gospel message.

 

 

 

 

 

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