Just a click away – Seoul, Brisbane, Juba, Karlsruhe, Nairobi, New York and Jerusalem. We live in a time when communication and information are at our fingertips. Whether it is via smartphones, tablets or laptops, different news sources can be accessed in seconds, the world is moving into our hands - just a click away. The rapid increase in news consumption and production, however, comes at a serious cost — media and communication illiteracy.
I´m the first defender of the freedom of expression and freedom of media.
There are huge economic interests operating in the digital world, capable of exercising forms of control as subtle as they are invasive, creating mechanisms for the manipulation of consciences and of the democratic process.
To become more media-literate, all readers need to know how to identify and evaluate the credibility of sources, and they must diversify the news sources they consume.
“The goal of WCC communications is to raise the profile and impact of the work of the WCC,” the communication strategy for the period of 2018-2021 reads. “Communication is an important strategic tool for the WCC and its member churches and ecumenical partners to sustain influence, gain visibility and promote good causes.”
WCC Communication also strives to be inclusive; the core of their work involves participation and, most of all, hope. “Our task is to ignite hope for a better world where human dignity prevails,” reads the strategy. “Human dignity and equality must permeate all communications.”
For me, it is crucial to tell the truth - even when it is inconvenient or unwelcome. The truth is a powerful way of amplifying voices that have been previously silenced, ignored, powerless or marginalized.
The strategy also reflects how the landscape for communication has changed and therefore requires a stronger prophetic voice. “The WCC seeks to lift up and convey the authentic experiences, stories, insights, and values of people and communities within the churches that might otherwise not be heard, even if they are critical of our habitual or accepted practices or challenge principalities and powers,” the strategy reads.
A long term strategy is important and the tireless work paid back when the World Council of Churches was nominated in late January as a top non-governmental organization and received a 4th place Geneva Engage Award. The honor recognises the actors in International Geneva for their social media outreach and online engagement.
The WCC must be a catalyst for change, the strategy further urges. “Communications from the WCC must be inclusive and have participation and hope at their core,” the strategy reads. “Our task is to ignite hope for a better world where human dignity prevails.”
Prophetic communication is, according to the strategy:
- WCC Communications is committed to prophetic communication, that is, to telling the truth (Gen. 20:6, 7), even when it is inconvenient or unwelcome or from voices previously silenced, ignored, powerless or marginalized.
- The WCC seeks to lift up and convey the authentic experiences, stories, insights, and values of people and communities within the churches that might otherwise not be heard, even if they are critical of our habitual or accepted practices or challenge principalities and powers.
- The WCC is committed to empowering people and groups to speak for themselves and to enabling communication by those who might otherwise not have access to the public sphere.
Accountable communication is, according to the strategy:
- The WCC is committed to accountability in its communications, intent on being a credible instrument of Christian communication and a trustworthy witness to the truth.
- WCC communications must not only convey truth but also counter falsehood, lies, and misconceptions that threaten understanding and dialogue among Christians and churches, as well as with people of other faiths or no faith.
- WCC Communications aspires to transparency in its work methods and accountability to the organization, its member churches and partners, as well as its readerships and the public.
We need wisdom to be able to welcome and create beautiful, true and good stories. We need courage to reject false and evil stories.
There is a lot that we can do to help, from scrutinizing what you’re consuming to being more intentional about your likes and shares.
The responsibility to report the truth may fall on the media and journalists, but the responsibility to promote the truth falls on all of us — you and me - for our own sake and for the sake of others. Seeking and sharing truth is something that all people are called to do.
I believe that all the accusations and even threats against the work of the WCC might be an attempt to silence or diminish communication of the WCC’s public and prophetic voice that help bring to light stories from the most vulnerable in the world. After the last years of accusations, fake news and real threats, I’m more than ever convinced that a strong voice for justice and peace is needed. We have to empower each other with courage to speak up to tell the truth with a pen of love. I´m sure this is the way to go.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” By Martin Luther King, Jr