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Truth is Not to Be Feared: Thoughts of a Catholic Journalist
February, 28th, 2018 (Bob Zyskowski). As a journalist, I seethed watching news videos of the US President refusing to take a question from reporters, shunting them off and belittling them as “fake news”. The tack is strategic, both to avoid questions the President fears answering and to impugn the integrity of journalists and media. As a Catholic journalist, I witnessed a Church leader do much the same at a meeting of the Board of Directors of a Catholic publishing company, disparaging the statement of a well-known Jesuit priest with the mocking words, “Well, that’s a Jesuit for you”, as he smiled and looked around the boardroom for acknowledging chuckles. Similarly, depending on one’s ideology, Catholics - clergy and lay alike - sneer alternately at “Vatican II Catholics”, “John Paul II priests”, nuns without habits, home-schooling moms, and more. Our Church suffers, too, when leadership acts in a vein not far removed from the fake news charge, not as blatant as Mr. Trump, and not as public. There’s the three-ring binder a Church communications officer is ordered to develop, a dossier on local media, listing “friends” and “enemies”. There are the orders to communications staff to give “good news” and feel-good photo-ops solely to the Church’s media friends. The reason? Fear of the truth, the sense that someone or something must be protected from the truth. As an executive for a Catholic newspaper I was asked not to send certain reporters to cover certain stories because, a Church leader explained, “they ask hard questions.” Our Church’s worst strategy has been the belief that secrets are possible. As I worked in the Catholic press, I asked myself when Church leaders would realize that there are no secrets. I sense now, blessedly, that the Church has moved into a new era, having learned that it is the secrets that need be feared, not journalists’ hard questions. And not the truth. Bob Zyskowski, a former president of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, retired in 2016 after working for Catholic newspapers for 43 years.
The International Group of SIGNIS elects its new delegates
Brussels, February, 21st, 2018 (SIGNIS). The members of the International Group of SIGNIS, created since the birth of the Association in 2001 and bringing together communicators who are active in the 5 continents, have elected their board and delegates for the period 2017-2021. Terence Ascott, director and founder of SAT 7, television network based in the Middle East, was elected President of the International SIGNIS Group; while the Doctor in International Communications and member of the Asian Communications Network, Sikares Sirakhan from Thailand, was elected Vice President. The board of directors is completed by the Director of CREC International, the French Yvan Paradisi, elected Secretary. Father Peter Malone MSC and Sr. Noemí Bergamin FSP complete the team as delegates for the 2017-2021 period. They will all participate in the next Assembly of Delegates scheduled for 2021, in the framework of the next World Congress of the Association. The SIGNIS International Group integrates communication entities whose activities are developed in several countries and constitutes a network structure, different from those constituted by the national members of SIGNIS that meet in 6 regional groups: North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. This structure is a legacy of the Unda International Group, whose activities began in 1955, as well as the OCIC one.