World Communications Day: Archbishop Martins tasks media on building communities


Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos  has admonished the media to recognise its indispensable role in building a progressive society.

He said that media practitioners should be cautious of  their  choices  and usages of words, images and the  content of their output.

Martins spoke on Sunday in Lagos as the world marks the 2019 World Communications Day.

The theme of the message by  Pope Francis for the 53rd World Communications Day is: “We are Members One of Another”, (cf Ephesians 4: 25); “From Network Community to Human Communities”.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that World Communications Day is marked annually on the Sunday before Pentecost to celebrate the achievements of the communications media and focus of how it can be positively used to promote gospel values.

It was established by Pope Paul VI in 1967; the church also encourages media practitioners to reflect on the opportunities and challenges that the modern means of social communication (the press, motions pictures, radio, television and the internet) afford them  to communicate the gospel message.

The 2019 theme underlines the importance of giving back to communication a broad perspective, based on the person, and emphasises the value of interaction always understood as dialogue and as an opportunity to meet with others.

This calls for a reflection on the current state and nature of relationships on the Internet, starting from the idea of community as a network between people in their wholeness.

Adewale, citing the message from the Pontiff, said the day’s message specifically focused on the social media and network, which had become the trend.

He said that social media users should use it to the benefit of all by calling attention to values and family/human bonding.

“Pope Francis speaks to content generators; we want people to be brought together as a family; as the media, yours is an indispensable role.

“Mind your words and the imagery in your articles and social media.

“Let there be a networking of human communities built on social values,” he said in his homily during the Mass at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos.

The Archbishop responding to questions from newsmen at an interactive session after the Mass,  said: “The value of social network will make more impact when we move from social network communities to human network communities.

“Knowing social communities, good and useful as they are, should not replace the human community because it is the human community that we see, feel, touch and experience emotions and have values which cannot be replaced by social network.

“Also, Christian unity, as well as unity of the nation, if we are members one of another, will be more tolerant, pay attention to communities, welfare of people and our common good,” Martins said.

Also speaking, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, the Acting Director of Social Communications in the archdiocese, emphasised that Pope Francis’ message tasked content generators and content consumers of social media to play a part in bringing people together as a family.

According to him, this is better than creating barriers to human communities.

“Just recently on May 18, 2019, while meeting with foreign journalists in Rome, Pope Francis called the attention of press men and women to do all in their power to become more humble in discharging their duties.

“In his own words, yours is an indispensable role and this also gives me great responsibility to ask  you , to pay particular care to the words you use in your articles, for the images you transmit in your services, for everything we share on social media.

“It is for this reason I call on all of us to go forth and promote the culture of “committee meeting” or as the pope calls it, ‘networking into family mode’, bringing about a human community built on human social network community,” Godonu said.