MEDIAFORUM Archive 1993

La Communication: Une Priorité Pour Le Synode Africain
par Michel Philippart (4/1993)

The Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa will take place in Rome on April 10th, 1994. One of its five topics is the Means of Social Communication. As communicators, one can be happy that communication is considered a top priority for the Church in Africa. However, until now, the approach to the theme "communication" in the 'Lineamenta' and in the 'Instrumenturn Laboris' doesn't seem to be really satisfying. As long as 'communication' is treated as an isolated topic and remains the tail-light of the whole agenda it appears easy to imagine that the synodal process might be carried out as follows: Starting with the study of the four leading themes, then developing a concluding message, and finally one most likely will change over to considerations about how communications could be utilised to shower this message on the people. During this process the topic 'communication' becomes garbled, hence reduced, to 'means of communication' and the chance might be missed that communication could unify the whole reflection of the African Synod. Certainly the challenge of the communication culture to the evangelising mission of the Church cannot simply be reduced to the question of content, but the development of a common approach still remains the priority. This cannot mean to announce in chorus a concluding message. For completion it seems significant to inculturate the message in fidelity to the traditions, Church and African, and according to the current cultural, social, political economic situation.

South Africa: Management of a Church Newspaper
by Noel Bruyns (4/1993)

How can a church newspaper cope with business and commercial constraints in order to become a profitable enterprise? How can such a paper define its vocation and mission: Is it predestined to be a tool for evangelisation? Noel Bruyns, administrative manager of "The Southern Cross", the national Catholic weekly of South Africa, shares his experiences with our readers.

People's Media: An Alternative
by M.X. Pooranam Demel, SJ (3/1993)

Is there an alternative use for the media and communication? Father Demel, director of the Culture and Communication Centre in Madras, South India, certainly thinks there is. The alternative media are those which come from the people, are produced by the people and work for the people. As the voice of the voiceless, they break the silence of the poorest and marginalised groups in society. All media can work in this way. On the other hand, to create truly alternative media it is not enough merely to use the traditional media, the media of specific groups or to resort to populism and be sought after by the majority. What is at stake, according to the author, are two radically different communication structures: that of the 'media of the rulers' or that of the 'media of the people', which is characterised by pro-change content, a participative and democratic format, decentralised communication and a dual significance.

Aetatis Novae: Facing Media Reality in Times of Electronic Pseudo-Reality
by Karen Watermann (3/1993)

Shaped by the all-pervasive electronic media, is the culture of the communication age creating a new form of illiteracy? In response to the Pastoral Instruction 'Aetatis Novae', which called for a critical analysis of the media and their influence on culture, Karen Watermann asks here whether this 'New Age' is not characterised by autism and narcissism. In fact, the relentless flood of images, aural and visual sensations, the semi-permanent linkage and connection of the modern person to the electronic media and the cult of 'live' information are creating new patterns of behaviour, giving rise to fragmentation and isolation in society and the individual. At a more fundamental level, it is the relationship between subject/receiver and object/reality which is being altered: the linear rationality for which the written word, the alphabet, reading and writing are the vehicles has been replaced by a rationality which establishes truth in the visual, the immediate, the instant. Instead of training citizen-viewers in 'audio-visual intelligence' skills, the logic of the electronic media risks confinement of the individual within themselves, forgetting that only direct face-to-face encounters and openness to the 'mystery of the other' can lead the person towards the discovery of their personal autonomy and truth.


Contribution Aux Plans Pastoraux de Communication en Afrique
by Michel Philippart (2/1993)

In the limits of a statistic inventory of the communications activities of the Catholic Church in Africa, CAMECO contributes, in the line of "Aetatis Novae" , to the inventory phase of Pastoral Plans of Social Communications and to the preparation of the coming "African Synod".

"Modern" Aspects of "Traditional" Communication
by Monika Gräf (2/1993)

What is more alien to the world of modern communications than 'traditional' communication, with its myths, tales, proverbs, rituals, dances, theatre, ornament and sculpture? Nevertheless, at the very core of modern communications, dominated as it is by the power of money, entertainment and utilitarianism, there are increasingly sharp demands for public participation - and for the participation of minorities in particular - and for greater meaning and points of reference to allow people to determine their own place in modern society. Were these not also the primary functions of 'traditional' communication?

CEDAL: El Video Educativo
by Gladys Daza Hernández (2/1993)

For more than 11 years, CEDAL, the ‘Centro de Comunicación Educativa Audiovisual' in Bogotá, Colombia, has been involved in (non-formal) education, supported by audio-visual media, in particular video. Based on a great variety of experiences in the field of formation and research, the following article from Ms. Gladys Daza Hernández, Director of CEDAL, provides a more theoretical overview on educational video. Depending on the different concepts of education, there are quite manifold ways to use the specific possibilities of video as e.g. in scientific work, as a supplementary instrument in school groups or to inform about social themes. Whether used as group media or for a mass public, video develops its educational capacity when it supports the participation and creativity of its target group.

Pakistan: Communications in an Islamic Milieu
by L.J. Saldanha (1/1993)

In January 1992, after five years of preparation and waiting, the Church in Pakistan launched Rabita Manzil, its national communication department. Rabita Manzil's main activities, which are centred round its 'Media Groups', are audio-visual production and media skills training. Father Saldanha, head of Rabita Manzil, traces the history of this centre, which aims to maintain the presence of the Church in a cultural context dominated by Islam and where access to mass media is limited.

India: Campaigning People's Media back to the Stone Age?
by Karen Watermann (1/1993)

At a time when the electronic communication media in India continue to grow in importance, many remarkable initiatives are being taken, particularly by young lay people and priests, to promote and revive traditional cultural forms as a means of communication: these include street theatre, puppet shows, dance and song, the media of the poor. Are we dealing here with eccentrics who wish to revert to stone-age methods of social communications through projects based on 'trivial, low-cost communication media'? This article aims to address this question, as well as many others raised in the contexts of culture, development and traditional and electronic communication media. Of course, the growing influence of modern communication technologies makes these themes topical not only in India.