By Robin Gomes
The Holy See is convinced that the advancement of sustainable peace and security in the world depends much on the promotion of equal respect and advancement of men and women in and by media. Monsignor Janusz Urbanczyk, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations and specialized institutions in Vienna, Austria, made the observation on Tuesday at a meeting on “Media Freedom and Gender Equality”, sponsored by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The event was held a day after the celebration of International Women Day, 8 March.
Media serving the common good
Monsignor Urbanczyk expressed the Holy See’s conviction that “the information provided by the media is at the service of the common good” because “society has a right to information based on truth, freedom, justice and solidarity”. Hence, support for media freedom and its positive impact on peace and security should be based on a common understanding of the role it plays in serving, promoting and protecting human dignity.
The media and journalists, Monsignor Urbanczyk said, have an obligation to serve the common good by providing correct, objective, and balanced information. This helps policymakers and the international community to make fact-based and responsible decisions.
This role of journalists is crucial in conflict situations. “Through accurate and unbiased reporting, journalists provide the world with an insight into conflicts that official or government information is often unable to give.” This is particularly evident when reporting on the human suffering that accompanies every conflict.
In this regard, the Vatican diplomat recalled Pope Francis regarding the need for women reporters. “In this recounting of life,” the Pope said, “women are very attentive (...). Women see better and understand better, because they are better at feeling.” Monsignor Urbanczyk thus pledged the Holy See continued support to the commitments of the OSCE on equality between women and men. This includes the advancement of equal opportunities for women in the media, as well as efforts to protect women, especially female journalists, from violence of any kind.
Women’s vision and sensitivity
The first step in promoting equality between women and men, the Holy See official said, is the recognition of the importance of women’s participation and engagement in all aspects of cultural, social, political, and economic life. In fact, he said, the vision and sensitivity of women may often be key for a more comprehensive accounting of the reality. “Therefore, promoting equal respect and participation for women and men in and by the media is a necessary and vital step in order to advance sustainable peace and security,” Monsignor Urbanczyk added.