UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News

Bangladesh

Preaching the truth is not enough, media-savvy priest says

Radio Veritas Asia fetes 50th anniversary by urging Catholics to better use media for spreading the Gospel

Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Preaching the truth is not enough, media-savvy priest says

Father Raymond Ambroise, former executive secretary of the Office of Social Communications at the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference (FABC), speaks to the audience during a media conference in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on May 30. (Photo by Stephan Uttom/ucanews.com)

Share this article :
A prominent Catholic media expert has called on Catholics to become "modern missionaries" by "proclaiming truth and the Good News" through the media armed with both "knowledge and commitment."

They should learn to utilize the media by following Jesus' advise to be "Simple as a dove but cunning as a serpent," said Father Raymond Ambroise, former executive secretary of the Office of Social Communications at the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference (FABC).

"We should be cunning or creative. That means we have to be relevant and create something meaningful that people will like. In today's existential context, we don't exist unless we are useful. We have to give people messages that help them, guide them, and find answers to the questions in their lives," added the diocesan priest from India's Telengana state.

Father Ambroise, 75, was speaking at a media conference in Dhaka on May 30. The audience included clergy, laypeople, Christian leaders, and personnel from mainstream and Church-run media.

The event was part of the 50th anniversary of Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a Manila-based pan-Asian Catholic radio station owned by the FABC.

It ran under the banner, "Media for proclamation of Truth and Good News: In the Perspective of Radio Veritas Asia," and was organized by the Bangladeshi Catholic Bishops' Social Communication Commission and Banideepti, the audio-visual wing of the church-owned Christian Communication Center (CCC).

"When we are committed to truth, we can contribute in preaching Good News. We are called and encouraged to be ‘media missionaries' in our everyday lives," said Father Augustine Bulbul Rebeiro, director of the CCC and a producer at RVA Bengali Service.

Catholic dancers perform during a media conference celebrating 50 years of Radio Veritas Asia in Dhaka on May 30. (Photo by Stephan Uttom/ucanews.com)

 

However, simply preaching the truth is not enough, Father Ambroise warned.

"Catholic media and professionals need to be highly culture-oriented, creative, and should know society well," he said.

RVA started as a shortwave radio station in Quezon City of Manila in 1969 and ended up broadcasting in 22 languages to largely non-Christian audiences across Asia.

Its launched its Bengali Service on Dec. 1, 1980 through the joint collaboration of Banedeepti and Chitrabani, the Catholic Communication Center in Kolkata, capital of India's West Bengal state. Both Bangladesh and West Bengal have a Bengali-speaking majority.

In its heyday, RVA Bengali Service boasted over 200,000 regular listeners.

The RVA went digital in 2007 but it faces the challenge of having to keep pace with the changing times to stay relevant, the Father Ambroise noted.

"Digital media is always evolving, so we cannot say this is the finished product," he said.

RVA Bengali Service has already heeded this advice: it set up an online audio-visual service last year.

Going digital has reportedly saved RVA US$1.6 million a year in broadcasting costs.

"Digital technology is very modern, innovative, and cheap, so we don't need to pay (high costs like before). But the new challenge is to get people who are media savvy to ensure our messages stay relevant and powerful," Father Ambroise said.

"Our presence in the media has be attractive to people who react and come back with feedback. Otherwise, we will become obsolete, a forgotten media."

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
UCA Newsletter
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
UCAN Ad
 
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution