Media in the service of the “culture of meeting”

Media in the service of the “culture of meeting”

By Fr. Rif’at Bader

Under the impressive slogan “Media in the Service of the Culture of Meeting”, the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan (CCSM) has launched a series of cultural seminars, or rather workshops, targeting students from Jordanian universities. They are not intended to review passive slogans that are antagonistic to discourses of hatred which call for excluding others and labeling them as infidels. They, rather, intended to introduce “good manners” in the applications of social media or to drawing attention to the relevant ethics.

The youth, the hope of the future, view life while using social media associated with water, food and air. It is important to draw attention that to the fact that these are ’means’ rather than ends and none justifies the other. Therefore, the end must be noble at a time when the means should be noble, honorable and virtuous.

There are discourses that exude hatred. There are also demands to have this practice a human “right”. Is this possible? It is “the truth that sets one free”. The truth states that love is the duty of everyone and it is the truth. No one can demand a false right based on falsehood that demeans human dignity.

At a seminar, a university student raised this question: "How can we make these media outlets serve humanity?" How great this question is, and how hard it is to find the right answer. Finding an answer is one thing while the reality is another. Every employee in the field of media may make addresses on the importance of media and its role in serving humans and humanity. Yet, the reality is bitterer and more complicated. The media outlets have become handy in an unprecedented way and we started to manipulate them to serve as a means to disseminate schism and dispute instead of being a malleable tool that serves the values of life, dignity and beauty. Is it not the right time to make media outlets indulge in serving humanity?

During a seminar held recently at Al Rai Center for Studies on Social Media networking, Director of the Center Khalid Al Shuqran said: “’Abouna’ reminded us of the sublime value of media. Consequently, I recalled the principles set by Socrates when someone visits him with a fresh piece of news. He used to say: hold on, is what you want to say necessary, or important, or useful, or amusing?’’ These are the most beautiful and most important priorities in our lives and in our applications as relevant to social media.

The media issue lies in the reversing these priorities, for whatever is amusing and useful took the lead over whatever is necessary and important. The solution lies in restoring the "culture of encounter and love" should top all priorities.

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