Avoid “half-truths” in Environmental Reporting: African Catholic Journalists Told

Some of the participants at the ongoing seminar organized by the Union of the African Catholic Press (UCAP) in Uganda. Credit: Charles Ndawula UCAP President Uganda

Catholic journalists in Africa have been told to be more intentional in their work, and to desist from communicating half-baked stories and “half-truths” in their environmental reporting.

In his message at the ongoing  seminar that the Union of the African Catholic Press (UCAP) organized in Uganda, Michael Cardinal Czerny who serves as the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD) said the media passes on partial information and half-truths which “ignore the injuries inflicted upon the poor and our common home.” 

“Another way to advance integral ecology is to be more intentional about the purposes of communication. Let us focus on education, which connects with the principle of subsidiarity; and on information, which underpins solidarity,” Cardinal Czerny said in his address on Monday, November 6.

The four-day seminar which ends on Saturday, November 11 has been organized on the theme ‘Contribution of journalists and media practitioners for an integral ecology according to Pope Francis' encyclical ‘Laudato Si’’.

Cardinal Czerny said the communication needs to educate and help those suffering the stresses in nature and society “to analyze what’s happening and formulate responses; this prepares them to be effective partners of more distant actors who, guided by subsidiarity, wish to see them lead in achieving the common good.”


The Vatican official added that journalists need to communicate in a way “that informs, creates awareness, generates networking, and connects those struggling in bonds of solidarity.”

Media professionals “need constantly to ensure that present-day forms of communication are in fact guiding us to generous encounter with others, to honest pursuit of the whole truth, to service, to closeness to the underprivileged and the promotion of the common good,” the Cardinal said referencing Pope Francis in his Encyclical on social friendship, Fratelli Tutti.

Cardinal Czerny called on journalists gathered for the November 6 to 11 seminar organized by UCAP and the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) to “collaborate with families and Church parishes, organizations and projects” to educate about ecology.

“Dear Catholic communicators, according to Laudate Deum, here you have your challenge: to help “provide a response to new problems and to react with global mechanisms to the environmental, public health, cultural, and social challenges, especially in order to consolidate respect for the most elementary human rights, social rights and the protection of our common home,” the Cardinal told the Catholic journalists. 

The main objective of the UCAP seminar in Uganda is to “build the capacity of media professionals and propose effective approaches to solving environmental problems that are an integral part of sustainable development on the African continent.”

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The event is also aimed at bringing together Catholic media professionals and lay journalists from across Africa to receive refresher training on working with the Church to develop sustainable mechanisms that promote environmental restoration and “allow ecosystems to function naturally.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.