Bishop Cautions Catholic Communicators in Africa against “disinformation ecosystem”

Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo Received an Award for excellent contribution to pastoral Communication in Africa. Credit: SIGNIS

Catholic communicators in Africa have a duty to resist the influence of the contemporary propaganda networks that deliberately spread false information, the President of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS) has said.

In his keynote address to members of the African region of the World Catholic Association for Communication, SIGNIS Africa, during their July 11-15 Congress and Assembly of delegates in Kigali, Rwanda, Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo also called for the establishment of a networking system for Catholic media initiatives and institutions in Africa. 

“The great task for the Catholic communicator today is to resist the influence of our contemporary, powerful disinformation ecosystem which accommodates thousands of ‘trolls’ involved in so-called ‘creative media work’, the type that does not mind manipulating or falsifying facts and data to achieve goals,” Bishop Badejo said.

The President of the Social Communications Committee of the member of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar said that communication experts in the Church “must constantly redefine and reappraise their own role so as not to validate or fall victim to similar negative influences.”

The Nigerian Catholic Bishop acknowledged the fact that the Church can be a victim of the negative influences of society, and underscored the need for Catholic communicators to disseminate issues that foster the mission of the Church.


Catholic communicators, Bishop Badejo said, “must rather act as a catalyst which raises and focuses attention on pastoral and social issues of justice, reconciliation, human development and other themes of importance to the mission of the Church.”

“Communication experts and practitioners like the members of Signis Africa gathered here have the task, the tools, the talent and the mandate to present events and information as a sharing in the intimate union which exists among the three Persons of the Trinity,” he said, adding, “This will ultimately be the test that they are working for true communion in the Church and striving to safeguard the truth.” 

The Bishop who has been at the helm of Nigeria’s Oyo Diocese since November 2009 reminded members of the African region of the global network of Catholic media professionals that promotes “Media for a culture of peace” of their duty “to educate the African peoples to reconciliation in truth, and the promotion of justice and peace.”

Bishop Badejo made reference to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI’s Post Synodal Exhortation on the Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace, Africae Munus, saying, “The media can make an important contribution towards the growth in communion of the human family and the ethos of society when they are used to promote universal participation in the common search for what is just.” 

For such contribution to be realized, the President of CEPACS said in reference to media entities in Africa, “A solid formation in ethics and truthfulness is needed to help them avoid the attraction of the sensational, as well as the temptation to manipulate information and to make easy money or fame.”

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It is the responsibility of African Communications experts to “ensure that Christian principles influence the practice of the profession, including the technical and administrative sector. To enable them to exercise this role properly, they need to be provided with a wholesome human, religious and spiritual training,” he said, citing Pope John Paul II’s Post Synodal Exhortation on the Church in Africa and its evangelizing mission, Ecclesia in Africa

Bishop Badejo called on members of the African region of the global network of Catholic communicators bringing together radio, television, cinema, video, media education, Internet, and new technology professionals from over 100 countries to facilitate the transition from statements “to practical and sustained action”.

“It is necessary to pass from statements issued in this manner to practical and sustained action. Catholic communications media can help by becoming the social memory of such issues, raising them consistently in the public space, long enough for them to be acted upon," he said. 

He further urged members of SIGNIS Africa to help Dioceses and other Catholic institutions to periodically assess and monitor progress in the implementation of communiques and directives, and policies issued especially on communications. 

The President of CEPACS called for the establishment of a networking system for Catholic media initiatives and institutions in Africa. 


Such a networking system would be important in knowing “authentically the life and progress of the Church in every corner of our huge continent,” Bishop Badejo told communicators from various African countries who are part of the World Catholic Association for Communication that has consultative status with UNESCO, United Nations in Geneva and New York (Ecosoc), and the Council of Europe.

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.