Catholic News Service of Nigeria - Abuja
Bishop Denis Chidi Isizoh challenged the country's Catholic Directors for social communications to show more commitment and passion in their task as Church communicators and to ensure that they seek every means available to develop themselves in order to be more efficient in their duty.
Bishop Isizoh made the remarks in a keynote address at a recent 3-days media workshop in the country’s capital, Abuja. The workshop was organised by the National Directorate of Social Communications, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), for Diocesan and Religious Directors of Communications of the Catholic Church in Nigeria.
Towards an integrated and effective Catholic media
Under the theme, "Empowering Directors for an Integrated and Effective Catholic Media Apostolate in Nigeria," the workshop was declared open at a colourful ceremony presided over by the Archbishop of Abuja, Ignatius Ayau Kaigama.
"You know, the voices on social media are largely not authentic. So, you must strive to convey the naked truth to society and practice unifying journalism. While Bishops speak from the altar in Church, you are the foot soldiers of the Church because you must go out to encounter the people and report about their plight as it truly is," said Archbishop Kaigama. He challenged the Catholic communications directors to be the voice of the Church, society, and especially of the poor.
The poor must also find space on your front pages
Along similar lines, the auxiliary Bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese told the workshop participants that the Catholic Church in Nigeria was in dire need of selfless communication directors passionate about their duty.
"We need directors with the passion for communicating effectively and who can correctly engage with media tools. While you must project your Bishops and the Church's message, it is also imperative that you go to the villages and report on the struggles and heroic activities of poor people. They too must be given space on the front pages of your newspapers," said Bishop Isizoh.
Challenges and successes of Catholic media in Nigeria
From the three papers presented and two training components of the workshop, the first paper was presented by Father Mike Nsikak Umoh on the topic: "The Mind of the Church on Social Communications." The other two papers were by Very Reverend Fathers Patrick Alumuku of Abuja Archdiocese and Martin Anusi of Awka Diocese. While Fr. Alumuku shared his experiences on "The challenges of running a media office in the Catholic Church in Nigeria," the Director of Communications of Awka Diocese, Fr. Anusi, spoke about "The prospects of a successful Catholic media office in Nigeria." He challenged fellow Directors to "think outside the box and above waters."
How to set up a basic low budget diocesan media facility
During the practical sessions, Father Paulinus Andiyene, the Assistant Director of Communications for Uyo Diocese, showed other directors how to set up a basic low budget audio and video recording and editing studio. He explained the differences and uses of various microphones and equipment. On the other hand, Mr Godwin Onyekwere, an ICT expert, introduced the Directors to a new and yet to be launched digital networking App created by the national communications office for the Catholic Church in Nigeria.
Appreciating previous officeholders
During the closing ceremony, the immediate past National Director of Communications, Father Dr Chris Anyanwu, was recognised for his many years of service to Church communications in Nigeria. The Directors also thanked Otunba Jide Vincent Fadugba-Pinheiro as he retires from the national social communications office after 17 years of meritorious service.