Sr. Jecinter Antoinette Okoth, FSSA
At a virtual meeting that brought together news correspondents from the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) region, the AMECEA Secretary General Fr. Anthony Makunde has called on the news writers for AMECEA Online to tell their own stories and not let other people report news on their behalf.
“My dear reporters, often times we allow other people to write on our behalf, tell our stories and define us. Yet we know in most cases they do not define us correctly and they do not interpret things we do in a proper way,” Fr. Makunde expressed and continued, “Let us take up our responsibility to tell our own stories.”
“We are the ones who can define ourselves better – who we are, what we are doing, how we are preaching the word of God and the way we are trying to put the word of God into practice because we are the ones involved,” Fr. Makunde the Tanzanian-born cleric added.
He reminded the AMECEA Online news correspondents that some journalist may not give the right report of what is going on in the conferences saying, “If we leave people to write on our behalf, of course they will write using their own lenses to interpret what they see but, most probably, they will not present a real picture of who we are.”
Speaking when delivering his opening speech during a virtual session on Tuesday, August 18, Fr. Makunde emphasized that the news correspondents are the working tools of the local Church whose major responsibility is to make the activities and missionary work known within the AMECEA region and to the other parts of the world.
Fr. Makunde compared journalism work to the four evangelists Mathew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament saying, “If these Evangelists did not report the events about Christ, we wouldn’t have known about the words and acts of Jesus as we do. So, if you do not share what is going on in your various conferences, the world will not know what is going on there.”
“Remember you are the ones witnessing the missionary works going on in your conferences. Share the message of joy with the others so that we can celebrate together, share the stories of pain and sorrows so that we may mourn together. Share the success stories so that others may be encouraged. Share the hopes of the vulnerable people in your respective conferences so that we may help each other to alleviate whatever may be heavy to carry,” AMECEA Secretary General appealed to the correspondents.
Speaking about the images used in stories, Fr. Makunde further underscored that photos should communicate messages about the people and the local Church activities.
He finally sent a message of condolence to all conferences where people have lost their loved ones due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and his sympathy to those who could not celebrate Mass because of the measures put in place by government authorities in order to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The meeting took place with support from Propaganda Fide through SIGNIS and the GHR Foundation.