by Vanessa M. Puno
World Media Congress 2016 : dialogic journalism is a means of universal fraternity
The recently held World Media Congress 2016 in Tagaytay, Philippines with the theme “Synergy in Media: Empowering People in Facing Global Challenges” on October 10 to 12 endorsed by Commission on Higher Education was organized by the International Christian Organization of the Media, New City Press and Institute of Spirituality in Asia which has gathered hundreds of media practitioners, students, and educators to face the challenges and issues in media with truth and authenticity and awareness of the need to dialogue and to collaborate old and young minds for to be empowered is the pursuit of truth and justice.
The idea of holding the World Media Congress in the Philippines was conceptualized three years ago when Jose Aranas, the recipient of the International Journalism and Media Awards, Interreligious Initiative category in Panama City mentioned that in the Philippines we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution in 2016 which became the impetus for the realization of its plan to hold the World Media Congress in the Philippine soil.
“I told them that in the Philippines we are only celebrating the 30th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution. I think that was the magic word, the people power revolution which was a milestone in the history of the freedom of expression. Most of all in 1986, ICOM first gave their highest International Journalism and Media Awards to Veritas Newspaper during the first World Media Congress held in Asia with Jaime Cardinal Sin and Mr. Felix Bautista Sr., the editors of the paper who received the award at New Delhi,” Aranas said.
The World Media Congress was organized by the International Christian Organization of the Media or ICOM, a Switzerland based media body formerly known as the Union Catholique Internationale De La Presse (UCIP) and also the jurors of the International Journalism and Media Awards. It was co-organized by the New City Press, the official publication of Focolare Movement in the Philippines with Jose Aranas as its editor and the Institute of Spirituality in Asia (ISA) which is a Carmelite Institute for study on spirituality in the Philippines and in Asia with Fr. Rico Palaca Ponce, OCarm. as the executive and academic director.
Fr. Ponce said he co-organized this World Media Congress through Aranas prodding and the ISA has helped in its conceptualization, and its financial concern as well as the congress realization.
“It was trusting in God's providence and in the talents of each other that made the Congress possible. This Congress is worth more than a million but its gains can never be measured. It's an investment for the good of future journalists as many of those who participated are young student journalists from the different parts of the country,” said Aranas.
The highlight of the International Journalism and Media Awards Night 2016 on October 10 was the conferment of the International Award for Excellence in Journalism to a Filipina investigative journalist Raissa Robles for her book titled, “Marcos Martial Law – Never Again which became a bestseller. The School of Dialogue with Oriental Religions (SOR) in the Philippines won the International Award for Excellence in Communication – Cardinal Foley Award 2016.
Aranas stressed on the World Media Congress impact to the participants is bringing a new way of journalism, which is dialogic. According to the speakers Michele Zanzucchi and Stefania Tanesini, Italian journalists, and the American-German journalist Susanne Janssen from the Focolare emphasized: "in order to communicate, we feel that we must “make ourselves one”, as we say, with whoever is listening to us. Also when we converse or give a talk, we do not limit ourselves to explaining the content of our thought. First we want to know something about the person or the audience we are addressing, their needs, desires, problems. Likewise, to want to make ourselves known, to explain why we wish to give that talk, what motivated us, what effects it had on us in order to create a certain reciprocity. In this way the message is not only understood intellectually, but it is also shared."
According to Aranas, the greatest challenge in media as the editor of New City Press is to live the principles of such dialogic journalism which means “I myself must be a mediator and not a cause of division which entails a lot of respecting the human person, every human person. This is the commitment that we want to push through with this congress: more than equality and human rights (liberty), which are the basis of our goal of universal fraternity.”