Posts Tagged ‘World Association for Christian Communication (WACC)’

How would you pray for the media?

Posted on: May 15th, 2013 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Ali Symons, General Synod Senior Editor




May 4, 2013–A Church of England call for prayers for the media has prompted reflections on the Canadian context.

Christians and churches in the United Kingdom have been encouraged to pray for the media on May 12, responding to a call issued by Christian charity the Church and Media Network.

Canadian Anglicans have responded to this call by reflecting on the media landscape in this country. Following are three insights from Anglicans involved with communications and journalism in Canada.

Archdeacon Paul Feheley, interim editor of the Anglican Journal:

“The ‘call to prayer’ will be handled very differently by faith groups around the world because of a variety of relationships with the media. For Canada, my prayer would be centred on building a better relationship between the church and the secular media. A renewed relationship would create opportunities for the media to tell the church’s stories of justice that, at the present time, are too often neglected, but for which society has an abiding interest.”

Robert Snow, recent graduate of Carleton University’s Master of Journalism program, and director of A Leap of Faith documentary:

“I would suggest that people pray that the media can continue to restructure itself, to better value young additions to the industry. I might also pray that the media try harder to overcome the temptation to indulge in opinion-only coverage. Finally, I would pray that the wider community try harder to recognize the work of the media, and be willing to pay for the invaluable service they provide, in the interest of preserving democracy and righting wrongs in society.”

The Rev. Canon Milton Barry, chair of General Synod’s Communications and Information Resources Committee:

“I will pray first and primarily for those who are on the front lines of the media, that is for investigative reporters who seek to provide the general public with ‘the whole story.’ May God grant them grace,courage,wisdom and compassion.

“I will then pray for the owners of the media outlets that they would be graced to be encouragers and defenders of their front line reporters.

“And finally I will pray that both might be instruments for good in contributing to the knowledge that allows society to grow in civility.”

(Above photo by sharkbait on Flickr.)


Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, May 4, 2013

ENInews suspends service, seeks further funding

Posted on: October 15th, 2012 by CEP Administrator No Comments


[Ecumenical News International] Ecumenical News International announced on 1 October that its ENInews service is suspending operations, effective immediately, as it seeks emergency funding in order to operate for the remainder of 2012.

“We regret taking this step, but despite a massive reorganization, ENInews is feeling the effect of the deep cuts from its historic supporters as well as from non-payment by quite a number of subscribers,” said the Rev. David Harris, president of ENI and publisher of the Presbyterian Record, based in Toronto.

“Subscribers and readers have said how much they value authoritative, unbiased news of ecumenical and inter-faith developments around the world,” said Harris. “We hope the suspension will be temporary and ENInews will secure a firm funding base.

“Subscriptions will be extended to compensate for the period of time ENInews operations are suspended.”

Founded in 1994, ENInews is supported by the World Council of Churches (WCC), Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and World Communion of Reformed Churches, all based at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva. It is also supported by the World Association for Christian Communication, based in Toronto. This year, ENInews also received a grant from the Reformed Church of Argovia, based in Switzerland.

At the beginning of 2012, the WCC and LWF, citing financial difficulties, reduced their funding to ENInews, the latest in a series of cuts over the past several years.

The service also has about 500 subscribers and maintains co-publishing agreements with Religion News Service, the Latin American and Caribbean Communication Agency and Episcopal News Service. Its stories are published by church and secular media around the world. In 2011, ENInews transmitted 721 stories.

ENInews stories are translated into French by Protestinfo, based in Lausanne, Switzerland. ENInews is produced by New York-based editor Solange De Santis and a worldwide corps of journalists.


Episcopal News Service, October 1, 2012

Christian communicators support indigenous radio

Posted on: August 10th, 2012 by CEP Administrator No Comments


By Staff, ENI News

The World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) on August 9, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, called on society and governments to support community radio in an effort to advance the democratic participation and active citizenship of native peoples.

The United Nations said the 2012 theme is “Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices,” which aims to highlight the importance of indigenous media in challenging stereotypes, forging identity, communicating with the world, and influencing the social and political agenda. The International Day was first proclaimed by the U.N. General Assembly in 1994.

A special event at U.N. headquarters in New York on August 9 featured speakers and videos of indigenous media organizations, with a live webcast.

In its statement, Toronto-based WACC said community media are key agents of participatory development, especially community radio, where affordability and reach make it a powerful agent of social change.

In addition, said WACC, many people participate in community radio, often on a volunteer basis; ownership and control is in the hands of people who genuinely represent the community and there is respect for the diversity of communal needs.

Community radio allows members to voice their concerns and to receive information that directly affects them. It can encourage open dialogue and transparency at the local level, highlight good practices and expose weak governance and corruption. It also provides entertainment during the long days of work and contributes to raising self-esteem and creating solidarity among community members, WACC said.

Indigenous peoples face the particular challenge of cultural survival in contexts where political, social and economic pressures and discriminatory policies are forcing them to replace tribal languages with the dominant languages of the larger societies in which they live. One way of tackling this problem is through community radio, which can become the authentic voice of the people, preserving and revitalizing cultural practices and restoring a sense of dignity to their lives, according to WACC.

Earlier this year, on the First International Day of Radio, February 13, James Anaya, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, commented that, “Radio has been a key medium for indigenous peoples, for the vitality of their languages and the exercise and defense of their rights.”

Recently WACC worked with the Chirapaq Centre for Indigenous Cultures in Ayacucho, Peru, to train women and men indigenous communicators in radio production skills. Chirapaq helps Quechua-speaking people to make better use of community radio to increase awareness and knowledge of their rights both among themselves and among the general public.

While a number of countries have introduced laws and regulations supporting the work of community radio stations, much more needs to be done. Many countries lack legal recognition of community broadcasting, accessible licensing systems, allocation of affordable frequencies and appropriate mechanisms for financial support of community radio, especially with respect to indigenous people, WACC said.


Anglican Journal News, August 9, 2012

New international society to support scholars of media, religion and Culture

Posted on: July 28th, 2012 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Links, News


By Dr Stephen Brown

An International Society for Media, Religion and Culture (ISMRC ) has
been inaugurated to support scholars and academic endeavours at the
intersection of media and religion.

“In this area almost more than any other it is important to keep in
mind the contribution of scholarship,” said Professor Stewart Hoover,
director of the Center for Media, Religion, and Culture of the
University of Colorado, and the society’s first president.

WACC is one of the founding organizations of ISMRC.

Dr Hoover was speaking at the society’s official launch during the 8th
International Conference on Media, Religion, and Culture, held in
Eskisehir, Turkey, from 8 to 12 July 2012.

The conference was the latest in a series of gatherings that were
initiated at meeting held in Uppsala, Sweden in 1994.

Hoover is a former member of WACC’s central committee – as the board
of directors used to be called – and a long-time member of WACC North

He said he hoped the society would “offer a context where we can get
acknowledgement and recognition for what we are doing.”

The Eskisehir gathering was hosted by Anadolou University and was
directed by Dr. Nezih Orhon, dean of the School of Communication
Sciences and a WACC personal member. In a keynote presentation, he
discussed religious and social diversity in Turkey and the way this is
covered by media.

The conference had strong participation from Turkey and the Middle
East. Papers dealt with issues including the place of minbars (Mosque
pulpits) in Iran, the identity of Iranian women in virtual spaces such
as Google+, the popularity of Turkish films on Arab television, and
televised religious discourse in Christianity and Islam.

Another focus for the five-day gathering was the place of digital
media, with presentations on issues such as Evangelical blogs as
“third spaces”, the efforts of the Vatican to respond to the digital
society through its portal, and networked individualism and
religious identity.

Panels introduced the results of research on issues such as the media
and religion in Europe; communicating research in media, religion and
culture across contexts; Nordic perspectives on the mediatization of
religion; finding religion in the media; and the intersection of
music, social media and Evangelical Christianity.

According to Hoover, WACC has been involved in the Media, Religion,
and Culture process since the first public conference held in
Colorado, USA. At the conference, WACC sponsored a panel of
international representatives. WACC’s President Dr Dennis Smith was
also instrumental in initiating the 2008 meeting in São Paulo,

“Several of us who have been involved in the conferences and now the
Society, trace our interest in scholarship on media and religion to
WACC’s own Forum activities of the 1980s and 90s,” said Hoover.
“Many media scholars are also WACC members including five members of
our new board and two additional members of the former Steering

The next International Conference on Media, Religion, and Culture is
scheduled for Canterbury, England, in mid-2014.

More information on the International Society for Media, Religion and

Dr. Stephen Brown (Geneva, Switzerland), Vice-President of WACC-Europe
and a member of WACC’s Board of Directors, represented WACC at the
Eskisehir conference.


World Association for Christian Communication press release,  July 25, 2012


Christian communicators support indigenous radio project in Peru

Posted on: July 13th, 2012 by CEP Administrator No Comments


 By Solange de Santis, ENI News

The World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) has chosen as one of its project partners in 2012 an organization in Peru that helps indigenous people find their voices in a society that often ignores them.

“We realized that the only means of communication, the only way to be able to say the things that happened to us, was the radio,” said one of the people profiled in a video, Voices through Time, produced by the Centro de Culturas Indígenas del Perú, or Chirapaq, based in Ayacucho.

WACC is donating 8,000 euros (US$10,100) to Chirapaq to train 50 indigenous people in radio production skills so they can use local radio stations to increase awareness and knowledge of indigenous people’s rights.

“Community radio lets the voices of the people be heard. WACC is supporting this because we believe communication is a basic human right,” Maria Teresa Aveggio, program manager, told ENInews in an interview.

Peru’s population of about 29.2 million is 45 percent indigenous, according to 2011 statistics in the online CIA Factbook published by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Comprising more than 65 ethnic groups, they are often subject to discrimination in education, healthcare and employment, according to such sources as Amnesty International. “They have a higher rate of poverty and less access to education,” noted Aveggio.

The Voices Through Time video shows how indigenous and Amazonian people in Peru use radio and new information and communication technologies to influence their representation in the media, preserve their culture and identities, and defend and exercise their rights, according to a WACC news release.

They feel they are often not adequately represented in Peru’s mass media, Aveggio said, noting that some local radio broadcasts are in indigenous languages, compared to the dominant society’s use of Spanish.

Founded in 1986, Chirapaq seeks to have the social, cultural, political and economic rights of indigenous and Amazonian people more widely recognized. Their work covers five regions in Peru: Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Cusco, Puno and Junín, according to WACC.

In 2009 Chirapaq promoted the development of participatory radio productions, which led to the strengthening of the Network of Quechua Indigenous Communicators of Ayacucho. Later it organized the National Workshop of Indigenous Communications.

Chirapaq collaborated with the First Permanent Forum of Andean Indigenous and Amazonian Women of Peru to form the Network of Indigenous Communicators of Peru.

Chirapaq’s director, Tarcila Rivera, was recently appointed to the Global Civil Society Advisory Group of U.N. Women. In July 2011 Rivera was honored with a Visionaries Award by the Ford Foundation for her work “lifting up the voices of indigenous peoples.”


Anglican Journal News, July 3, 2012


In a changed world, churches need to rethink communications

Posted on: May 30th, 2012 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, News, Reviews


By ENInews Staff

[Ecumenical News International] The world of communication has changed so radically in the past 20 years that it is time for churches to rethink how they communicate concerns about injustice and conflict, said a group of Christian communicators gathered in Busan, South Korea.

Busan is the site of the next assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC), scheduled for Oct. 20 to Nov. 8, 2013. The group of journalists and communication advocates met this week to draft a statement on the theme of the assembly, “God of life, lead us to justice and peace.”

“The last time the WCC discussed the issue of how to communicate with the world was at its assembly in Vancouver in 1983,” said Cheon Young-cheol, Korean communication coordinator for the Korea Host Committee (KHC) for the assembly.

“Since then social media and citizen journalists have emerged. It is time to look at these new opportunities that churches now have to gather and distribute news about injustices and abuse of the environment.”

The consultation on communication was convened at the initiative of the KHC and was co-moderated by the WCC and World Association for Christian Communication (WACC). The WCC also co-sponsored the event.

The 12-member group included representatives of Korean Christian media as well church journalists and communication specialists from India, Germany, Canada, Argentina, Brazil and Switzerland.

“In recent years, social media have emerged and with them the sources of stories and information about conflict zones in the world have multiplied. Yet at the same time, injustice and conflict persist,” said Marcelo Schneider from Brazil. “If churches take seriously the potential of social media to engage people in changing the situation in which they find themselves, then this can be a powerful motivator for social transformation.”

A statement crafted by the group brought attention to a loss of integrity in journalism as a result of the small number of media conglomerates controlling much of the news disseminated and received today.  While social media has opened up the information channels to many more voices, it offers its own set of challenges about information sharing, according to the statement.

In general the statement points to the need for communicators to lift up the voices of those who are oppressed and marginalized, while recommending that these groups be given better access to information sharing channels.

The statement ends with a “call to action” urging churches to recognize and support the role of communication in initiatives to address and transform the underlying causes of environmental destruction, violence and abuse of human rights.

“Churches must support both citizen journalists and their professional communication staff in order for stories to be gathered effectively and told with integrity,” said Karin Achtelstetter, WACC General Secretary.

The draft statement will be presented to the WCC as it plans the assembly with the goal of further discussion on the document at the WCC Central Committee meeting in late August.

The sponsoring organizations for the communications consultation included the KHC, WCC, WACC, Busan Presbyterian University and several local churches in Busan.

More information is available here.


Episcopal News Service, May 29, 2012


Film about Argentinian ‘tragic events’ receives award

Posted on: April 9th, 2012 by CEP Administrator No Comments


(ENInews)–The film “Verdades Verdaderas” or “True Truths,” about the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina who sought answers when their children and grandchildren disappeared under military rule, was awarded on 2 April the SIGNIS-WACC Human Rights Award in Toronto.

The Rev. Karin Achtelstetter, general secretary of  the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), and Alvito De Souza, secretary general of SIGNIS-World, the World Catholic Association for Communication, announced the award at a joint meeting at WACC’s headquarters.


Ecumenical News International News Highlights, 2 April 2012



World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) spotlights Internet obstacles and challenges

Posted on: March 9th, 2012 by CEP Administrator No Comments


The World Association for Christian Communication (WACC)’s latest No-nonsense guide asks what restrictions, if any, should be placed on the Internet. As a church-related organization working for communication rights, WACC seeks ethical guidelines for digital media platforms.

The Internet is a vital part of today’s communications scene. But it is under threat from governments intent on stifling freedom of expression and from global corporations intent on levying high charges for access.

WACC’s six-page No-Nonsense guide to…The Great Internet Grab explores the issues surrounding Internet censorship, Net neutrality, and affordable access. In part it is a response to WACC’s Strategic Plan 2012-2016, which stresses the need for greater access to information and communication for poor, marginalized, excluded and dispossessed people.

WACC General Secretary, Rev. Dr Karin Achtelstetter says, “We need to explore the obstacles and challenges surrounding digital frontiers and to examine the potential of social media to strengthen the public voice of marginalized communities.”

Neutrality is a founding principle of the Internet, ensuring that network owners, such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs), do not favour some content over other content. With a few exceptions, Net neutrality is the de facto standard of non-discriminatory treatment that has regulated the traffic of digital information – until recently.

Unfortunately, many ISPs such as big telephone and cable companies are successfully quashing the network neutrality principle. Large telecommunications companies have said that, in an age of growing bandwidth use, network neutrality is neither feasible nor desirable. These companies are in a position to play gatekeeper: deciding which web sites load fast or slow, and which will not load at all.

Today, many countries engage in Internet censorship. Those with the most pervasive filtering policies have been found routinely to block access to human rights organizations, news, blogs, and web services that are deemed threatening or undesirable. Others block access to single categories of Internet content, or intermittently to specific websites or network services to coincide with strategic events, such as elections or public demonstrations.

Fortunately, thousands of individuals are combating censorship through blogs and many organizations dedicate time and effort to raising awareness about Internet censorship. Some are formal organizations with prestigious memberships, while others are informal groups that are not above advocating guerrilla tactics to subverting strict policies.

The No-Nonsense guide to…The Great Internet Grab also outlines the recent controversy in the USA around the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). Proponents of the legislation state it will protect the intellectual-property market and corresponding industry, jobs and revenue, and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws, especially against foreign websites.

Opponents of SOPA and PIPA say the proposed legislation threatens free speech and innovation, and enables law enforcement to block access to entire internet domains due to infringing content posted on a single blog or webpage.

WACC Deputy-Director of Programs, Philip Lee, commented, “The Internet is part of the common good of today’s information and communication societies. As such it should be run honestly, transparently, and democratically.”

WACC’s No-nonsense guide to… The Great Internet Grab is freely available for electronic download here:


World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) press release, February 22, 2012