Impact of communication technologies on religious communication

16 abril, 2010 at 4:27 pm 1 comentario

By Sarah Macharia, Programme Manager, WACC, reporting from Chicago

The World Association of Christian Communication (WACC) convened a panel of global partners, April 10, to discuss the impact of communication technologies on religious communication.

Panelist Rolando Perez from Peru discussed the mediatisation of religious practices in Latin America, a region which although becoming religiously diverse, remains predominantly Catholic. He presented photos of public processions, gatherings on national days and various social protests to illustrate the extent to which religion permeates all aspects of Peruvian society, including the influential social and political power held by Catholicism.

Perez advanced several arguments: that mega evangelical churches have increased and that religion’s concern with social influence is more evident now in diametrical opposition to the concern for individual conversion. Religious communication is interested in “shepherding rather than converting political and social leaders”. At the same time, he said, political leaders legitimate their authority and discourse in political life through participation in evangelical rituals.

Perez also discussed the re-signification of social protests geared to empower marginalized groups, the increased engagement of religion with social causes and human rights issues. He argued that Peruvian contemporary evangelical groups are more engaged in public affairs, more embedded in civic action and more connected to the secular media debate than ever before.

Panelists Math Kpalla and Marcela Gabioud from Togo and Argentina, called attention to gender in the news media through discussions on their experience in the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP). Globally coordinated by WACC, the GMMP is the world’s longest-running longitudinal research on gender in the world news media. Gabioud explained the ways in which organisations in Argentina have used the GMMP to understand gender inequality in news content and to successfully lobby for the adoption of gender-responsive communication legislation. This, she explained, is a significant achievement given the nature of political governance in Argentina. Gender-responsive policy paves the way for increasing the visibility of women and issues of concern to women, in the media.

Panelist Bassem Maher from Egypt employed the case of the Ibrahima Media Centre (IMC) in Alexandria, Egypt to expound on current religious approaches to radio and television. Maher located his discussion in the historical context of the influence of Christian groups on social practices. He said, broadcasting media are influential in the Middle East in general however Christian broadcasting and particularly Christian television lags behind secular broadcasting. Maher explained the gap as the result of stiff competition, suspicion, and resistance from the church itself. Despite the obstacles, IMC has registered success in contributing to public discourse such as production of advocacy video clips on HIV and AIDS aired on secular television.

Panelist Rev. Rongwei Wei discussed new media and protestant churches in China. Interestingly, he noted that China is a forerunner in new technologies yet new media is not reflected in the communication channels used by the Church. Rev. Wei traced the history of the adoption of new technologies by Protestant churches in China, from the Ai Ji Printing Press in Shanghai in 1995 to the development in 2003 of an audio-visual studio and a website for protestant churcheswww.ccctspm.org. Use of new media is imperative if more people are to be attracted to the Church whose congregations currently are predominantly the elderly.

WACC President Dennis Smith synthesized the panel presentations as insights into the extent of our interconnectedness, which, at the same time, comes from multiple realities and multiple particularities. “One of the unique privileges of forming part of a global association of communicators is to be able to witness our inter-connectedness, our inter-dependence, but also our high degree of particularity. Ours is not a single reality, but countless realities – some more inter-connected than others.”

Religious communities have become more audible as voices against discrimination, exclusion and oppression, resulting in a blurring of the divide between the political and the religious. Smith emphasized WACC’s work to provide a minimum ethical agenda for social change through communicative practices that build inclusive and participatory communities.

Read the full synthesis

Entry filed under: Medios y religión. Tags: .

El debate sobre la igualdad religiosa en el Peru Ciudadanos de dos mundos

1 comentario Add your own

  • 1. Immigration Lawyers in maidstone  |  27 octubre, 2012 a las 4:57 am

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