By Gid Ahanonu
Media practitioners and, indeed, all Christian communicators have been charged to carry out their assignments with mercy.
This charge was given by the Archbishop of the Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, Most Rev A. J V. Obinna, while celebrating a Eucharistic mass last Sunday at the Assumpta Cathedral Owerri to mark the 50th World Communication Day.
Archbishop Obinna, who was represented by Rev. Fr. Innocent Osuagwu, while presenting Pope Francis’ message with the theme: Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter noted that everybody, both the priest and lay, is a communicator and urged the people to be mindful of their tongue, their write-ups and other elements of communication and to apply them in a manner that promotes mercy, peace, love, charity and understanding.
He stressed the need for Christian communicators at all levels to build bridges, heal wounds and avoid misunderstandings, not judge each other and to be good listeners.
Presenting the key-note address at the ceremony after mass, the Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Engr Chidi Ibe, observed that mercy was about forgiveness.
He posited that one’s speech, silence, observation and appearance one’s communication content which could be misunderstood, hence the need for caution before action. The commissioner, who represented the governor decried negative reports in the media and advised journalists to refrain from yellow journalism.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the immediate past chairman of Imo State NUJ, Chief Sir Fidel Onyeneke, who was also the chairman of the occasion, described the occasion, as apt, coming at a time when many vices are plaguing the country.
He noted that communication has psychological healing which is mercy.
He commended the vision of the Catholic Church in handling the event annually and urged other denominations to follow.
Chief Onyeneke then hailed the state governor, Owelle Okorocha, for partnering with the church on this important occasion, which according to him, shows that government is realizing the importance of journalists.
Delivering his lecture at the occasion, a professor of psychology and Guidance and Counseling in Abia State University Uturu, Prof. Chiemeka Ekennia, said that the papal message has far reaching meaning for the church, the family, the people and government of Imo State, as it promotes love, tenderness, forgiveness, charity, openness and sharing which are encapsulated in mercy.
Another lecture, Sir Emma Esenwa, of Federal University of Technology Owerri also presented a paper on the same topic at the occasion, while the Director of Communications for the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu gave a vote of thanks.