INTERNET A RIGHT FOR EVERYBODY
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands
Commission on Social Communications
The recent pilgrimage (24-26 May) by Pope Francis to the troubled Holy Land in the Middle East has made people with different interests and claims much closer to one another. The Presidents of Palestine and Israel agreed to meet him again next month, pray together and talk peace at Francis’ home in Rome.
The media coverage for the event was impressive and gave further evidence to what the Pope says in his message for the 48th World Communications Day to be celebrated this Sunday 1st June: “Our world suffers from many forms of exclusion, marginalization and poverty, to say nothing of conflicts born of a combination of economic, political, ideological, even religious motives”… The “media can help us feel closer to one another, creating a sense of unity of the human family, which can in turn inspire solidarity and serious efforts to ensure a more dignified life for all... Communication” – in fact – “is ultimately a human rather than technological achievement”.
Pope Francis refers to the parable of the Good Samaritan to stress the fact that every communication effort should help humans to become more and more neighbours to one another. It is not enough to talk and just send messages. It is important to listen as well. Silence is essential to hear what others intend to tell us and reply appropriately. “Connections need to grow into encounters”, Francis says.
The Internet and Social Media now offer great opportunities for improved communication and sharing of knowledge. Unfortunately in developing countries such as Papua New Guinea the costs remain high and the service intermittent. Young people avail of online connection whenever possible; though only the corporate world have access to the full range of internet services.
But we cannot boast of true freedom of expression unless the Internet is available to everybody. (Fr Giorgio Licini)