MEDIAFORUM Archive 1991

Video: Learning to "Walk on Water"
by John Wijngaards (3-4/1991)

One in three households world-wide has a video recorder (VCR). Of course, the actual penetration rate varies widely: Europe and the United States, for example, account for 64 percent of the total world market while sub-Saharan Africa, in contrast, makes up a mere 0.7 per cent. Whatever the disparities, the world market for video recorders increased fifteen-fold between 1981 and 1991 (and, indeed, twenty-fold in sub-Saharan Africa alone!). This 'video-mania' has also taken hold in the Church, so much so that a very serious author even entitled a recently published book "The Video-Christian Civilisation". In all parts of the world, video production projects are springing up within the Church, but undoubtedly few have fully assessed the extent of the difficulties involved. For this reason, in a spirit of international co-production, we have asked Father John Wijngaards, director of HOUSETOP and executive producer of the video series ‘Walking on Water', to relate the story of how this international co-production was produced in India.

Afrique: Pour une Formation Locale
par Michel Philippart (3-4/1991)

According to UNESCO sources, there are more than one hundred communication training institutes and centres in Africa. Meanwhile many Christian communicators continue to be sent overseas for training, even for primary professional courses. Therefore one wonders whether it would not be possible and more appropriate to use the already existing facilities. Of course it is one thing to identify all the available training centres and another to appreciate their quality and standards, as well as to negotiate access for ‘church' candidates with them. In any case, it is a great challenge for the global ecumenical attitude of co-operation and collaboration with everyone for the benefit of Africa as a whole.

Afrique Francophone: Le Printemps de la Presse
par Michel Philippart (2/1991)

There is no freedom or democracy without freedom of opinion and of the press. If this is so, something is about to change in Africa. Particularly in the French-speaking countries, where a number of independent newspapers have been launched during the last few months. But their freedom is still precarious. Resulting from and sometimes being the reason for an awakening popular demand, they represent both a chance and a challenge for African societies, but also for the Church in this continent.

Iglesia Mexicana: La Renovacion Comunicacional
by Roberto Tapia and Daniela Frank (1/1991)

In many countries and regions of the world, the Church faces various limitations in the realisation of her apostolate. The reasons are sometimes economical or ideological, and very often they are rooted in the political system, characterised by authoritarian structures or a distinct anti-clerical orientation as is the case in Mexico. The Mexican laical constitution restricts among others the right of the Church(es) to own apostolic institutions, a regulation which essentially influences Christian activities also in the field of social communication. After the last visit of Pope John Paul II to Mexico, May 1990, new hopes were raised that the overall position of the Church would be legally redefined in the near future. Although this is certainly a long and difficult process, the changing situation is urging the Catholic Church and other denominations to prepare themselves for an appropriate use for their new possibilities in the future. The following article not only describes the actual perspectives for the communication apostolate in Mexico, but also wishes to create an impulse for al1 local Churches on the way to design concepts for a more open and effective media presence in their countries.

National Offices for Social Communications: Operational Structures

by Daniela Frank and Marcel Vanhengel (1/1991)

A previous issue of the CAMECO Information Bulletin (1/1990) carried an initial contribution on the role and function of national commissions and offices for social communication, whose principal task should be the co-ordination of Church activities in the sphere of communication and the stimulation, promotion and harmonisation of efforts, particularly at national level, but also closely linked with activities in the dioceses and at the grass roots. As previously indicated, we would like to return to this topic, as the national communication offices are in fact the key to the development of communication within the Church. In addition, and at the risk of excessive generalisation, we offer some practical advice for the organisation of these national offices, as well as minimal conditions for their efficient operation.