Journalists Ask Nigeria to Safeguard Freedoms

Catholics Urge Values That Support Democracy

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MAKURDI, Nigeria, MAR. 26, 2001 ( Catholic media professionals capped a three-day workshop here by pledging to work for the promotion of democracy, while at the same time calling on the government to ensure freedom of expression and worship.

The March 19-22 workshop was organized by the Association of Catholic Media Practitioners and Diocesan Communication Directors of Nigeria, at the Pope John Paul II Pastoral Center. The theme of the meeting was «Electronic Media and Values in the Era of Democracy.»

At the end of the event, the participants published a statement, expressing their congratulations and tribute «to the courage of the Nigerian media for the role which they played in the restoration of democracy in our country. We commend the present government for restoring freedom of speech and movement in the country.»

The conferees also said media practitioners uphold «ethics and values in their profession.» They also appealed to the government not to allow «cultural and moral values to be sacrificed on the altar of technology and absolute freedom, but to actively promote a morally upright society.»

They also urged that everything possible should be done «to support the Church´s fight against AIDS, child slavery, prostitution, abortion, and other social ills that threaten to turn our country into an inhuman society.»

The media practitioners stated that, in «the spirit of the message of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, for the forthcoming annual World Day of Communications,» which will be held May 27, «we resolve to take our prophetic task seriously and to speak out against the false gods and idols of the day: materialism, hedonism, consumerism, narrow nationalism, etc., so that our world may [become] a more humane family for all.»

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