Sunday 12 May is the 58th World Day of Social Communications – a day to recognise the contribution that journalists and media professionals make to sharing Christ’s love across the world. A recent Journalism training programme in Pakistan, supported by Missio, was an opportunity to equip media professionals and young people with vital support to communicate the Christian News and Faith in the media.

The Diocese of Jalandhar joined with Sat Sewa Sanchar (the Commission for Mass Media and Communication) to create a three-day intensive residential course, for both young people and current media professionals. It was organized in collaboration with Missio and SIGNIS India (the Catholic Association for Communications), and attended by staff from Prarthana Bhawan TV (a Punjabi, Hindi and English Christian devotional channel).

Around 30 young people and media professionals from various parishes of Jalandhar Diocese participated in the training, which aimed:

‘to train journalists, press reporters, editors and writers to defend the Christian Faith and present the true facts of the News in the Print Media’.

Witnesses to truth

Special guest Rt Rev Dr Rufino Gracias (the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Jalandhar) delivered the keynote address. He said the Catholic press is called upon to exercise a prophetic role: one which is only possible through proper training and togetherness. He asked participants to stand shoulder to shoulder with each other and emphasized the importance of drawing strength from God, and asked participants to be witnesses to the truth.

Fr Sadiq, Director of the hugely successful Prarthana Bhawan TV channel and Sat Sewa Sanchar, offered participants career guidance in the Print Media. He shared his expertise of how relevant journalism is for the Church’s mission in the digital age and told participants about the growth and future prospects in the field of journalism.

A journalism toolkit

Mr Dhanraj, the Vice President of SIGNIS India, introduced the participants to the field of journalism and trained them in essential writing skills for the Print Media.

Article and feature writing for newspapers, magazines and digital platforms were also highlighted with practice sessions and assignments. Mr Dhanraj who explained them with the help of some short films, also   dealt very explicitly with fact checking, avoiding fake news, writing truth for the Press and doing journalism without fear and favour.

Bringing the message to everyone

Fr Dr Herman SVD, the Director of Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialogue for the Archdiocese of Delhi, ran interactive sessions for the young people on dialogue, ecumenism, and journalism for peace. He taught the basics of writing skills, music, lyric and journalistic composition. Through the power of personal witness, skill sharing and music, he enthused the young participants with life for Church ministry and empowered them to take a truthful stand and an active part in their communities, places of work and study.

Throughout the training programme, as well as practical exercises, participants were able to put their queries and questions to the facilitators and benefit from their expertise and advice in the fields of Print Media, journalistic writing skills, dialogue, ecumenism and the Church’s mission in our digital age.

The vital role of the human heart

In our ever changing and technologically advancing world, the role of journalists with courage, integrity and heart is ever more vital. This year, in his message for World Communications Day, the Holy Father acknowledges the creeping influence of AI, and the risks of the world becoming ‘rich in technology and poor in humanity’. He poses the question:

‘how can we remain fully human and guide this cultural transformation to serve a good purpose?’

The answer, he continues, is to ‘begin with the human heart’. The role of human journalists, focusing on and sharing in real human experiences is key to meeting the challenges of the present and future world in ways which connect and enrich our global human family.

Pray with us

We have no doubt that, armed with the tools, support and inspiration supplied by Fr Martin and his team, the present and future journalists of Jalandhar will rise to the challenge with humanity and heart, enriching their community and sharing the Good News of Jesus’ love with the wider audience.

Journalism is not always an easy calling, particularly in countries where Christians are in a minority. Please join us as we give thanks and pray for our sisters and brothers around the world who work within the world of media to further the message of Christ.