“We cannot effectively spread ideas and teachings without effective information and communication strategies and without effective information communication tools”.
This was said during a workshop organized by the National Social Communications Office, for the Diocesan Social communications Officers as well as other catholic media houses in Zimbabwe.
The theme of the workshop was Reporting Conflict, National Healing, Reconciliation and Reconstruction. The workshop was co-facilitated by Mr. Matthew Takaona from the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, Sr. Veronica Dingi from IMBISA Communications Department and Fr. Edward Ndete the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Officer for Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC). This workshop noted that effective communication strategies as well as effective communication tools will make the Church more effective in spreading its teaching for the benefit of the people in society.
In his keynote address Bishop Michael Bhasera who is the bishop-in-charge of the Social Communications Commission in Zimbabwe, noted that 2008 was marked by torture, fear, murder, abductions, that tore the society apart as politics took centre stage. These experiences caused untold psychological and physical suffering among the people and the society at large. He went on to say that these experiences have also created an atmosphere of indifference and widened a gorge of enmity, tension and suspicion among those who dwell in the same locality. As Church communicators we have a role to play in the national healing process and in spreading the message of reconciliation. The damage is irreparable but the need for reconciliation, national healing and reconstruction is indispensable and the development of the country is possible if everyone embraces national healing and reconciliation.
It was also noted during the workshop that many wars raging across the globe these days are not fought militarily but through the spread of information using the most up-to-date information technologies. No organisation can move forward effectively without the dissemination of information. The Church was called on to use effective means of communications in order for it to be able to spread its social teachings which the Zimbabwean society needs at the moment. Looking at the process of national healing the catholic media was challenged to play its role in spreading the message of forgiveness, reconciliation, justice, love of neighbour, healing and peace.
The media officers were challenged to make sure that they are an alternative and respected voice of compassion and justice, by denouncing human rights violations not attacking persons, institutions or parties. They were challenged to “put off the fire of hatred, enmity and suspicion and light the fire of love, justice and forgiveness.