Vatican Lauds Bishops in Nigeria for Spearheading Media Literacy Program at Grassroots

Logo of the Communications Week (ComWEEK), an initiative of the Catholic Bishops in Nigeria seeking to promote media literacy in Catholic Parishes countrywide. Credit: Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN)

The leadership of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communications has lauded Catholic Bishops in Nigeria for spearheading Communications Week (ComWEEK), a program that seeks to promote media literacy in Catholic Parishes all over the West African country.

In a Saturday, January 28 report, the prefect of the Dicastery for Communications, Dr. Paolo Ruffini, commends Catholic Bishops in Nigeria for the initiative, saying that it is an advancement in “media formation for missionary discipleship and for responsible citizenship in a democratic dispensation.”

“We receive with great joy the news that the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria have unanimously endorsed the introduction of a media literacy program in all parishes in the country within the context of the Communications Week celebration in May 2022,” Dr. Ruffini is quoted as saying in the report shared with ACI Africa. 

The expressions of appreciation are said to be contained in a letter dated January 19 and addressed to the National Director of Social Communications, Fr Michael Nsikak Umoh. The letter also acknowledges the relationship between media literacy and the ongoing Synod on Synodality, the January 28 report indicates.

In the letter, the prefect of the Dicastery for Communications notes that revolution in the communications media and information represents “a great and thrilling challenge.”


He reiterates Pope Francis’ call to a media that offers responses “with fresh energy and imagination in order to better share the beauty of God in our lives.”

Dr. Ruffini further notes the connectedness between media literacy, Pope Francis' theme for the 2022 World Day of Communications, and “the ongoing Synodality process taking place in the Church”.

“Media literacy will definitely help in developing kind hearted and critical listening, a deepening of reasoning with the heart, as well as empowering the faithful in giving a more profound participation in the ongoing Synodality process taking place in the Church, while responding to the call to be missionary disciples,” the Vatican official who has been at the helm of Communication since July 2018 says.

To track the performance of the program at the grassroots level with the aim of using it to compel other Episcopal Conferences to emulate it, Dr. Ruffini requests the National Directorate of Social Communications of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) to share experience of the initiative with the Vatican office.

The Communications Week, a week-long program of the Catholic Church in Nigeria under the umbrella of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), is set to be carried out in all Catholic Parishes in the country for six days.

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The program, which is to start officially May 22 and end May 29 spearheaded by the National Directorate of Social Communications of CSN in Abuja entails the promotion of “awareness on the teachings of the church on media, exposure to some basic skills of media literacy and reflections on the Pope’s message for 2022 World Communications Day (WCD).”

Calling on volunteers from all over Nigeria to promote the program, the National office tasked with the responsibility said that those who will volunteer will become National Media Disciples (NMD).

The “media disciples” will be tasked with ensuring that all messages from CSN are spread far and wide and also sharing with the office how best the media office can be made effective.

In a January 29 report, the Secretary General of CSN, Fr. Zacharia Nyantiso Samjum, unveiled the Communications Week logo on the occasion of the Media Parley with the CSN community.

In his welcome address, Fr. Samjum acknowledged with appreciation media professionals at the January 28 event and their continued support to the Church’s mission.


The CSN Secretary General said that the Church and the media share a goal, which he said is human progress. He challenged Catholic journalists to respond responsibly to the negativities as portrayed in the society and to continually collaborate with CSN. 

Fr. Samjum further said, in reference to the collaboration between Catholic journalists and the Church, “Let us try to make visible the people society has rendered invisible.”

Speaking at the same occasion, Fr. Umoh explained that “the two main purposes the Media Parley serves are an avenue for the Church to appreciate the invaluable support of media practitioners, as well as creates an opportunity to listen to them.”

The National Director of Social Communications added, “The Catholic Church ceaselessly advocates for a society where the dignity of the human person is sacrosanct and the inalienable rights of everyone, especially the poor and most vulnerable in the society, are respected and defended.”

The Nigerian Catholic Priest further challenged journalists to pay attention to “framing of stories”, adding that the Church holds on the dignity of human person as being “critical to the proper framing of our narrative.”

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Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.