Pakistan Catholic media face challenges

Pakistan Catholic media face challenges
2010-10-06 14:20:22
Readers for leaders is our aim, Pakistani delegates said during the an ongoing international Catholic media congress at the Vatican. More than 200 participants from 85 countries attend the fifth Catholic Press Congress Oct. 4-7 organized by the Pontifical Council for Social Communication. Pakistan was represented by Emmanuel Neno, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Commission for Catechetics, Sister Athens Angeles, a Daughter of St. Paul nun from Islamabad-Rawalpindi diocese and Kamran Chaudhry, head of in Pakistan. “We are facing challenges including lack of coordination between Catholic journalists and shortage of writers. The congress can shed light on these challenges,” said Neno, who has translated over 25 books and authored several publications including A Dictionary of New Christian Terminology. He added that this is a good opportunity to meet and share information with media personnel from different countries. Sister Angeles expressed similar views. “We will try to improve our publications through the new insights we get. I hope to empower more writers and this is a big responsibility that has to be started now,” she said. According to her, despite technological advancements, Church leaders in Pakistan largely depend on print media for information dissemination. “Print is popular for information as well as formation.” In 2000, her congregation started Readers are Leaders, a project promoting reading in Pakistan. “We provided free books in schools, parishes and seminarians but stopped as we saw no improvement. It seems multimedia has taken over print,” she added. She also cites increasing production costs as one main challenge. “The old school method of report writing fails to impress readers who are faithful to Pakistan’s Church publications. Therefore, journalists determine the future of Catholic print media in Pakistan,” said Chaudhry. He added that they plan to provide writers’ training for cathechists so they may be able to report parish activities. In a country with about 57 percent literacy rate as per the government’s latest statistics, the number of Catholic readers in Pakistan run low. Although bishops support the country’s Catholic press, only three produce regular magazines among its six dioceses and one apostolic vicariate. Apart from training and finding new writers, the Catholic media in Pakistan also needs to recruit rural journalists to represent ground realities at the grassroots, since reporting is limited to Pakistan’s urban areas, Chaudhry added. Related reports Pressing issues for interreligious dialogue Pakistan mediators say Catholic training is vital Don’t ignore us, plead Christian media workers PA11444.1622
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