Special Issue 2009 CAMECO Jubilee

40 years of CAMECO
Towards a world of people centred communication

On May 6th CAMECO was celebrating its 40th anniversary. On this occasion we took a closer look at our cooperation with partners and contemplated perspectives for Church communications.



During mass in the missio chapelArchbishop Claudio María Celli, President Pontifical Council for Social CommunicationDuring the coffee breakPlenary

Jubilee celebrations of 6th May 2009

"Sofie was a strict companion, but exactly the right one for us!" Still three years later, Katarína Jantáková, the editor-in-chief of the Slovakian children's magazine Rebrik, is grateful for the consultancy by the Catholic Media Council (CAMECO).

In 2006 the magazine, which is published by the Catholic youth association eRKo, found itself in an existence-threatening crisis. Today Rebrik is well positioned again. At the 40-year jubilee of CAMECO, consultancy office for communications in developing and transition countries, on 6th May in Aachen, Jantáková gave an account of how it had all come about.

The focus on a clearly defined age group, the design of child-oriented identification figures, the setting up of an editorial advisory committee and well-targeted marketing activities were, so Jantáková, the result of an intensive consultancy process by Sofie Jannusch, CAMECO desk-officer for Central and Eastern Europe.

"We are very grateful for the constructive criticism", Sr. Paola Moggi from the Sudan Catholic Radio Network (SCRN) summed up her experience with CAMECO. "Michel Philippart, desk-officer for Africa at CAMECO, assisted the Comboni radio team refining the original project, (especially with a positive critique of the "highly fragmented" fundraising efforts) and shared existing policies of radio networks, to develop the management structure of this media initiative"

The qualified consultancy by the Catholic Media Council is no coincidence. Bishop Dr. Gebhard Fürst, President of the Commission for Communications of the German Bishops' Conference, pointed out during the celebrations in Aachen that the pastoral instruction "Communio et Progressio", published in 1971, already stipulated a strengthening of local communication structures in developing countries.

Fürst described CAMECO as a "highly regarded institution that has done and is still doing a valuable job, assisting the media work in Africa, Asia and Latin America and since 1993 also in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the countries of the former Soviet Union".

"The Church should grasp the chances offered by digitalisation in order to be present in the modern world with its core messages of faith, love and hope," said Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. He urged not to be fixated on quick successes in media work but to think and work sustainably.

The fact that CAMECO is celebrating its 40-year existence is indeed a sign of such sustainability. Since its foundation the bureau has accompanied, advised and evaluated more than 17.000 media projects.

Dr. Christoph Dietz
(Translation into English: Marion Weißkirchen)

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Bishop Dr. Gebhard Fürst, President of the Communication Commission of the German Bishops’ Conference

The World at a Round Table: Catholic Media Work in a Digital Age

by Dr. Gebhard Fürst, Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, President of the Communication Commission of the German Bishops' Conference
Excerpt of the speech commemorating the 40-year anniversary of CAMECO

(...) There have been profound changes in the media work of the Church since the decade of Vatican II. When the authors of ‘Communio et Progressio' articulated a vision of the round table, the image of the ways in which the media could bring people together was largely shaped by the model of television. There had already been world-wide live broadcasts of major events that gathered people in front of their television screens all over the world. The trend that was only beginning to emerge at the time has now progressed considerably and through the creation of countless stations and programmes, and thanks to the creation of the Internet, the trend has intensified almost infinitely. Today, in the age of digital media, we have an entirely different notion of the ways media can promote linkages between people. In contrast to the landscape at the time of the Council, or even in the early 1970s, what we see today is a world-wide network that offers infinite possibilities for communication. Communication is no longer a uni-directional activity issuing from a privileged transmitter to a mass public of mere receivers; it is now a two-way street. (...)

(...) For all of our activity in the area of multimedia communication, we should rely upon a strength that is ours alone: the authenticity of our faith. In a digital world in which reality is gradually succumbing to the virtual and deception and false promises are on the order of the day, voices that are credible - voices that can express an interest in the salvation of mankind and of human society - are certain to attract attention. I am convinced of this. Virtual worlds into which people flee can help pass the time for a few hours, but they cannot answer the world's existential questions - let alone bring redemption. (...)

Read the complete presentation:

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How does CAMECO support the media work of its partners?
Experiences from Africa and Europe

Sudan Catholic Radio Network (SCRN) LogoSudan Catholic Radio Network (SCRN) StudioSr. Paola MoggiSr. Paola Moggi

Sudan Catholic Radio Network (SCRN)

Church media in developing and transition countries give Christian faith a voice and a face and at the same time pursue the concerns of the Church. They disseminate independent news and promote peace and reconciliation. As for example in Sudan, a country marked by the long civil war, where the Church is making an important contribution to peace-building. Radio is to support the reconciliation efforts. For that purpose a network of radio stations - the „Sudan Catholic Radio Network" (SCRN) - is being set up in eight dioceses.

Radio is the Church's medium of choice as 85% of the population are illiterate. Another reason is that, although vast areas of the country have not been electrified yet, radio reception is possible with battery-powered receivers. Because of Sudan's variety of languages, cultures and religions the initiators opt for regional contents and programmes. They work in different languages and with different formats but pursue the same goals. This is ensured by the editorial directives of the Sudanese Bishops' Conference.

As Sr. Paola Moggi, coordinator of the SCRN, explained during the CAMECO celebration, by the end of 2009 the network should become fully operational through its local FM stations. The short-term objective of SCRN is to consolidate peace through civic education and through programmes fostering mutual understanding among the different ethnic groups, to pave the way for the peaceful implementation of the forthcoming elections and referendum. In the long-term SCRN aims to improve the quality of life in Sudan through educative programmes which foster integral human development. The local radios of the network are expected to become a forum for dialogue on relevant issues, thus pre-empting any possible escalation of violence. In this process the social teaching of the Catholic Church is a major source of inspiration.

CAMECO has been accompanying this project with its longstanding expertise. Africa desk-officer Michel Philippart has been in close contact with the partners on the spot, conveys know-how, gives advice and impulses and asks constructive questions. He advises on purchases and encourages partners to realise their vision under often adverse circumstances. This is not just about development aid but about long-term organisational growth as well as the formation and further training of staff.

Thomas Hohenschue
(Translation into English: Marion Weißkirchen)

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Logo RebrikBrigita Janovicová and Katarína JantákováBrigita Janovicová and Katarína Jantáková (2)On a tree

REBRIK - a children's magazine in Slovakia

Anyone setting up and running media in the former Eastern Bloc still has to deal with the cultural legacy, even two decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Up to this day the experience of living and working in the underground has impacted on the media makers and those in charge, observes CAMECO desk-officer Sofie Jannusch who advises partners in Central and Eastern Europe. In her work she often has to open perspectives and break up old structures and procedures. Jannusch encourages to think differently, allow the unfamiliar, dare more democracy, develop a culture of delegating and to work in a team.

CAMECO is called upon when a television programme is being designed or new emphases are to be set in Church radio contributions. It is often quite vague ideas which, with the help of CAMECO's moderation, are clarified by the participants themselves. Jannusch explains that it is her role to help the people in charge "make informed decisions". It is often about clarifying contents or about the development of the organisation or the personnel.

This can be demonstrated quite well on the example of the Slovakian children's magazine REBRIK. CAMECO was asked for help when the magazine was on the brink of economic collapse. After an in-depth analysis the common goal was to orient the publication towards its target group and put it onto solid economic foundations.

On the way to reaching this goal many steps had to be taken together as Brigita Janovicová and Katarína Jantáková explained. Jannusch did not just act as an advisor with a journalistic background but also as a supervisor and a coach. First of all a survey was carried out among children, parents and teachers in order to formulate the strengths and weaknesses of the magazine more clearly. New paths to attract new subscribers were taken, new contents developed and the layout improved. It was important to strengthen the economic management as well as the editorial team and its work and provide it with supporting structures. By now also children are involved in the development of each issue, one group from the city another one from the countryside. They give feedback on the subjects and the language and take a lot of pride in it.

In fact all the participating parties are involved with heart and soul. Thanks to the moderation of CAMECO they managed to develop trusting and reliable working relationships.

Thomas Hohenschue
(Translation into English: Marion Weißkirchen)

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Press Kit

Please have a look at the press kit (in German):

(PDF, german, 1.8 MB)

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