13th November 2008: On Sunday, 16th November, we observe in the Church of India, “Communications Day”. In his message on the occasion, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI says in the opening statement, “The theme of this year’s World Communications Day – “The Media : At the Crossroads between Self-Promotion and Service, Searching for the Truth in order to Share it with Others” – sheds light on the important role of the media in the life of individuals and society. Truly, there is no area of human experience, especially given the vast phenomenon of globalization, in which the media have not become an integral part of interpersonal relations and of social, economic, political and religious development.”
In keeping with the theme, and the spirit of what communications is all about, each one of us will have to explore ways and possibilities of ensuring that we earnestly seek the Truth to become a society which is more humane, just and peaceful.
Corresponding with this, is the need to be constantly vigilant in order to protect and defend our Constitutional Rights and that of every other citizen – very specially the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable.
We would like to bring to your kind attention some current happenings in Gujarat and in other parts of India :
– Fundamentalist / fascist organizations are very systematically mobilizing / organizing people through very effective propaganda / machinery, spewing hate, prejudice and divisiveness; large meetings / rallies in the name of religion are being held; subtle and innocuous strategies are being used, printed / electronic media is being used to the maximum ….
– “official bodies” have begun visiting our institutions making enquiries / conducting surveys / seeking of information / demanding accounts / foreign funds . This is sheer intimidation and harassment since the information asked for is not within the purview / legitimacy / authority of the concerned body.
– that any attempt to spread disinformation / lies / hate propaganda, be brought to the notice of appropriate authorities (this may change according to circumstances / places) immediately and also be communicated to others and to us (It would be helpful if we could receive copies of such printed material / CDs / DVDs, etc.).
– that we do not rush to provide any information whatsoever. Always ask why the information is requested and who has authorized it (in writing) (If requested, we could assist on letting you know if the information demanded should be provided or not).
We need to prepare ourselves in more effective ways, to respond to the challenges ahead…. One significant step is BECOMING MORE “COMMUNICATIVE”.
Fr. Cedric Prakash sj
Secretary, PRASHANT – A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace
Street Address : Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad – 380052, Gujarat, India. Phone : 91 79 27455913, 66522333. Fax : 91 79 27489018