ucanews.com reporter, PuneUpdated: March 16, 2016 07:00 AM GMT
Bishop Thomas Dabre addresses the Indian Catholic Press Association as the association's president Alfonso Elenjickal looks on. (Photo by Joby Mathew)
Catholic journalists in India were urged to be sensitive to family values and become agents of social change rather than chasing scandals and sensationalism.
"With sex, sensationalism and scandals dominating the media, the fundamentals of the family life are being eroded and challenged. This has led to a serious impact on the stability of the family leading to decay in society," the Indian Catholic Press Association said in a statement on March 13.
Some 60 Catholic journalists attended the association's annual gathering in the western city of Pune March 11-13.
Bishop Thomas Dabre of Poona, in his keynote address, said increasing "materialism, consumerism and addiction to social media" is adversely affecting family values.
He also said declining spiritual and moral values "are grave concerns challenging the church and society" and called on the media to show sensitivity to these values in their work.
Bishop Dabre also expressed concern over growing intolerance in the country since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power two years ago towards people who hold different opinions and who are of a different culture and faith.
The prelate criticized what he said was a "systematic concerted" effort to manipulate the education system, religious fundamentalism and atrocities against intellectuals and religious institutions in the country.
He asked the journalists at the gathering to "courageously and constructively" criticize "un-Christian practices in the church" and address problems in the church and analyze them critically,
Reflecting on the gathering, Father Jacob Kani, association member and editor of Youth Action magazine, said he sensed a "revival of the organization" which was dormant for some time after its parent body, the International Catholic Union of the Press, lost Vatican recognition in 2011 because of operational irregularities.
"Now new members are joining and senior members have become more positive and active. There is a new enthusiasm for growth and action," Father Kani said.
Father Alfonso Elenjickal, who was re-elected association president, said his aim would be to attract more professional journalists as members and give the association "national standing" and make it "a serious body of media people."