Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) – The Catholic Church in Africa will provide a single, large, news agency for the entire continent. This is what was decided at the meeting in Nairobi, which opened August 31 (see Fides 01/09/2010), organized by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), in collaboration with the Catholic Media Council (CAMECO).
“We’ve given ourselves a year’s time to outline the final plan for launching the new agency,” Fides was told by Benedict Assorow, Communications Director of SECAM and a member of the Central Working Group responsible for drawing up the plans for the new agency. The other members of the Central Working Group, Fr. Patrick Alumuku and Fr. André Quenum. A financing and fundraising committee has also been established, to be presided by Fr. Roger Tessier of the agency CISA in Nairobi.
“The Nairobi meeting is the culmination of a journey started three years ago, in 2007, when we began to discuss the establishment of a single Catholic news agency for Africa, thanks to the contribution made by journalists from UCAN, the Catholic Asian news agency,” recalls Assorow.
According to a statement published at the end of the meeting, the Catholic Continental News Agency for Africa was established to let “the authentic voice of Africa” be heard, according to the exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI to the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops held in Rome in October 2009 and the final propositions of the Assembly. In particular, Proposition No. 56 calls for: “an increased presence of the Church in the media; the networking of audio-visual centres, publishing houses and media centres; the professional training and ethical formation of journalists to promote a culture of dialogue which avoids division, sensationalism, disinformation and the offensive trivialization of human suffering, all of which could harm the harmony and peace of societies and communities; use of the modern media for the spread of the Gospel and the fruits of the present Synod, for the education of African peoples in truth, reconciliation, the promotion of justice and peace; the development of a satellite network, under the coordination of CEPACS (the media organ of SECAM) to serve the Church-Family of God in Africa; and set up diocesan, national or regional commissions of communication with competent personnel to help exercise the Church’s prophetic ministry in society.”
The new agency will provide free coverage of events in English, French, and Portuguese. (LM) (Agenzia Fides 7/9/2010)
Final Statement from the Nairobi Meeting (in English)