Seek truth in stories, Catholic bishop tasks journalists

The Catholic Bishop of Lagos, Most Rev Dr Alfred Adewale-Martins, has tasked media practitioners to search after the truth in all stories that come to them.

He handed the charge while speaking during a Holy Mass to mark the seventh Sunday in Easter and the 54th World Communications Day, at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos.

Bishop Adwale-Martin, at the Mass that was monitored by our correspondent on Lumen Christ Television, said it was necessary to search for the truth, “because what we hear and what we see in movies, what we hear in music and news exact a lot of influence on our actions and reactions.”

According to him, “For 54 years the Catholic church, all over the world, has set a day aside to celebrate and to affirm the important role that media practitioners play in human affairs.

“Every year the pope addresses a message to the world on different themes. This year Pope Francis has given us a message that is centred on the value of storytelling and its importance in shaping our behaviour, in shaping the values by which we live.

“There are a few things that stand out in the Pope’s message on this 54 World’s Communication’s Day. First of all, the Pope says to us we need to make the truth that we find in all stories our own, in other words we need to affirm and live by the truth in the stories we hear.”

Speaking further he said, “There are stories that build up people and bind people together, making them feel related to one another by our common humanity. There are stories that make all tribes and all peoples of all religions into brothers and sisters.

“But there are also stories told by people to create division and cause conflict, stories that stroke hatred and prejudice. In this sort of stories there are those news items that do not care about facts, which deliberately fabricate stories to create confusion, to create hatred and prejudice.

“In the face of this, the Holy Father calls on us to sift carefully, to isolate the truth in stories and news items that we hear and let only this truths guide and lead us.

“That is an important message considering the number of stories and news that is disseminated on the various social networks, social media routes, stories which people consume sometimes without any care to cross check the fact or the truth”

Continuing the Catholic bishop said: “The Holy Father says pay attention to the stories that you hear and take the truth and let this be your guide.

“This truth also challenges our media men and women to seek and search after the truth in all stories that come to therm. That is very necessary because what we hear and what we see in movies, what we hear in music and news they exact a lot of influence on our actions and reactions. What we hear play a significant role in the way we see live and those that we use as heroes.

“So, as media practitioners if our stories influence who people choose as heroes and models to imitate then we must direct our people to models and heroes that are worthy. Those heroes and models that stand for selfless service, those that work for common good instead of personal or parochial interests.”

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