Catholic media group calls for action on Pacific "crisis"

Concluding a Melbourne assembly, representatives of Catholic media outlets in the Pacific region have called on the media to play a "robust" role to help alleviate "the spiralling social, economic and political crisis that plague many of our nations".

The call was issued by delegates to the Pacific General Assembly of the SIGNIS Catholic media federation held in Melbourne last week.

"We acknowledge with deep sadness," a declaration adopted by delegates said, "that the spiralling social, economic and political crisis that plague many of our nations, bring hardship to our citizens and create significant ethical dilemmas to those in the media who bare the heavy responsibility of assisting our governments and our citizenry to explore and implement policies that insure basic human rights."

"Our hope and sustenance for a media that maintains a willingness and freedom to explore comes from the Gospel and the teaching of the Church," the delegates continued.

Citing the Pastoral Instruction on Social Communications published following Vatican Council II that calls for different opinions to be confronted, the delegates called on Pacific media "to continue their vital role and indeed to adopt a robust mandate to alleviate the spiralling incidence of alcohol and drug use, increasing unemployment, growing occurrence of HIV/AIDS, political instability and transnational crime."

Countries participating in the assembly included the Pacific island states of Northern Marianas, Micronesia, French Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, Independent Samoa, Tonga, New Caledonia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu and the Solomons as well as Australia.

SIGNIS, a non-governmental organisation recognised by the Vatican, brings together radio, television, cinema, video, media education, and new technology professionals working in Catholic media.

Signis Media Release (8/2/07)

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16 Feb 2007