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“Let us continue to be agents of hope, role models”, Catholic Journalists in Africa Urged

Official Logo Union of the African Catholic Press (UCAP).

Catholic journalists in Africa have been urged to foster hope amid the protracted COVID-19 challenging situation.

The call comes from the leadership of the Union of the African Catholic Press (UCAP), the organization that brings together Catholic journalists in both Church and secular media across Africa.

In the Press Statement dated Wednesday, March 3 sent to ACI Africa, officials of the Catholic entity that is recognized by the Vatican encourage Catholic journalists in Africa to be role models of resilience.

“As Catholic journalists, let us continue to be agents of hope and role models in moments of difficulty and despair such as this one,” UCAP President, George Sunguh states in the statement he signed on behalf of the Union’s Executive Council, making reference to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Describing 2020 as a “unique year” that saw the unprecedented closure of places of worship during the best part of the year due to COVID 19 restrictions, UCAP leadership invites Catholic journalists in Africa to “stay alert and be more innovative because there's a silver lining in every dark cloud.”

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“Never let the ball drop in our journalistic role of interpreting and educating our faithful on the new rules that the World Health Organization and the respective governments and Bishops' Conferences continue to propose to mitigate this pandemic,” the Kenyan-born UCAP President says in the statement sent to ACI Africa.

UCAP leadership goes on to encourage Catholic journalists in Africa to take up the responsibility of identifying and exposing fake news about COVID-19 in the face of increasing misinformation and disinformation about the pandemic.

“As professional journalists, we compete to bring the ‘Prophets of Fake News’ to the public's attention,” UCAP leadership says and adds, “Armed with our Christian teachings, the Church is counting on us to demystify all the lies spread through social media by these ‘prophets’”

Despite COVID-19 challenges, UCAP leadership notes that “the year has not been in vain.”

“We have organized virtual sessions that brought together our members and other stakeholders,” Union’s Executive Council says.

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The leadership recalls how the webinar conducted under the topic, ‘The role of new media in religious services during and after COVID-19’ “was skillfully discussed in English and French by a panel of presenters and upcoming participants from across the continent and around the world, including the Vatican, through its Dicastery for Social Communications.” 

Describing the June 2020 webinar as “relevant” for Catholic journalists on the continent, UCAP leadership urges “every member in his/her small scale...to serve Mother Church in the best possible way during these difficult times.”

In the March 3 statement, UCAP leadership announces the holding of the UCAP Congress and General Assembly that was postponed last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“UCAP Togo has kindly accepted to host our Congress scheduled for August 2021,” the leadership of UCAP says in the statement and explains, “The Executive Council after a thorough consultation, decided to change the location of the congress to a city easily accessible by a majority of our members.” 

“The exact dates and the specific venue will be communicated to you in due course,” UCAP officials further say, adding, “Let us all continue to pray that the whirlwind of COVID 19 will pass safely over each of us so that we can all come together as one family.”

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UCAP officials implore, “May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the woman of expectation, accompany our steps at the beginning of this new liturgical year and help us to accomplish the task of the disciples of Jesus, indicated by the Apostle Peter.”

“And what is this task? To give an account of the hope that is in us,” UCAP leadership poses and answers in the March 3 statement, making reference to Pope Francis.