Social media in the service of encounter

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Social media in the service of encounter

By Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader

The Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in Jordan has held a two-day training workshop for students from different Jordanian universities in the presence of young Tunisian trainer Dr. Shahrazad Bani Hamida, a university professor and a lawyer specializing in public law, political science and security sector reform. She is also an international trainer serving in conflict management facilitating dialogue and supporting social cohesion.

What is important is that our universities reacted positively and sent their students to benefit from this workshop, titled, "Guiding the University Youth on the Good Use of Social Media Networking, and the Ethics of this use that serves Harmony, Unity, and Encounter among Civilizations and Religions".

After short welcoming addresses by the organizing side--namely the CCSM, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s Jordan Office, and the American University of Madaba--a short film prepared the AUM was screened. The film highlighted the importance of communication referring to His Majesty King Abdullah II's article, "Social or Antisocial Media?" and the message of His Holiness Pope Francis on the World Telecommunication Day 2019 titled, "From Social Network Communities to the Human Community". The trainer, Dr. Shahrazad Bani Hamida, adopted a style that averts rhetoric, but resorts to the developing the faculty of expression of views and dialogue, as well as acceptance of contradictory views while assessing what is reasonable.

Since its establishment in Jordan in 2012, the CCSM has taken upon itself the responsibility of conveying Church and humanitarian news in association with leading local and international institutions, Yet, the CCSM did not confine itself to merely conveying news and photos. It transcended this to serve as “a guide” on daily use of social media networking. On the one hand, the CCSM urged young people to resort to the ethical and good use of media outlets so that media would serve the goals of harmony, namely that media are not a target in themselves but rather a means for the attainment of peace and building bridges.

As for inter-faith dialogue, it is important and necessary to serve as guidance for our dear young people by urging them to keep at bay from hate speech found in every society, to confront them, and not to adopt them unconsciously. It is regrettable that the media may be the main conveyor of discourses of hatred, instead of confronting all forms of hatred and alerting young people about the danger of hatred that could be transformed from being a transient feeling into a violent act.

Yes, since it is always said that media are a double-edged sword, let us beautify them by using them for what serves harmony and encounter.

+en.abouna.org

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