Catholic Journalists in Malawi have been urged to always identify themselves with values of the Church when discharging their duties.
National Coordinator for Communications and Social Research at the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) Fr Francis Damaseke said at the Annual General Meeting for the Association of Catholic Journalists in Malawi (AJM) that the Church has values which can help journalists disseminate information accurately and objectively for the spiritual and social well being of the citizenry.
“The Church has values and social teachings which can guide their professional conduct,” Fr. Damaseke said.
He observed that as professional, “Catholic journalist have a big role to play in the Church, helping in evangelization the people where they are, as they are and also reaching out to the people with the truth on matters within the Catholic Church and the society in general.”
The journalists held their indaba under the theme “Communicating by encountering people as they are, where they are” after a one-year break due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Besides deliberating on matters affecting the association and its members, delegates also elected new members of the Association’s National Executive Committee.
The new executive committee will be chaired by Sam Kalimba who will take over from George Kasakula upon approval from ECM.
Meanwhile, the outgoing Chairperson Kasakula appealed to journalists who are Catholics but are not yet members of the Association to come out for the sake of unity, their identity and spiritual growth.
“The Association is there to promote unity, networking and deeper understanding of the Catholic faith and values, while supporting the Church in enhancing communication and evangelization,” Kasakula explained.
He said the past two years, just like every grouping and organization in the Church and the world at large, ACJ failed to achieve most of the planned activities due to Covid-19.
The newly elected Chairperson, Kalimba, acknowledged the task the new executive has of mobilizing journalists that are Catholics to join the Association and help the Church in fostering professional communication on matters affecting the Church and society.
“I must appeal to the members however for their support towards initiatives of the Association. Their task is not just putting people into leadership positions but giving them the support needed in advancing the objectives of ACJ, otherwise we will not get to the levels we aspire to reach” Kalimba said in his acceptance speech.
ECM National Coordinator for Communications Fr. Damaseke advised the new executive to seek God’s guidance first in every endeavor in addition to their capabilities as professional communicators.
Besides elections and making resolutions that included adoption of ACJ Constitution, a representative from Pontifical Mission Societies of Malawi Fr. Peter Madeya made a presentation on activities and celebrations in the Church in the next three years that will call for involvement of the Catholic Journalists.
A brief presentation on Synod of Bishops “Towards a Synodal Church” was also made by Fr. Damaseke, who emphasized the three pillars of Communion, Participation and Mission
The outgoing ACJ Chairperson, Kasakula also used the meeting to award Fr. Godino Phokoso a certificate of recognition for his role in revamping ACJ during his tenure as National Coordinator on Communications and Social Research at ECM.