Internet and new media, our future and our home!
By Fr. Giorgio Licini, PIME
Every year in May the Catholic Church celebrates World Communications Day. It started in 1967 when the mass media (or means of social communication) where basically newspapers, radio, television and cinema. It continues today when the variety of channels and gadgets has become much wider to include the Internet, the mobile phones, tablets, and many more.
The real revolution, however, resides in the Internet. I am writing this article in Madang but in less than one second it can be delivered anywhere in the word. Thanks to the Internet! I need to know more about the latest developments in this turbulent time of PNG politics. No problem, the Post Courier, The National and many other sources of information are on line right here on my screen. Thanks to the Internet! I need to share photos and videos with my friends and relatives back home in Europe. No need to rush to TNT or DHL. I will just post everything on Facebook or YouTube at almost no cost and have it cross the Oceans in no time. Thanks to the Internet!
Think of what the Internet means for banks, governments, companies, airliners… Should the Internet unexpectedly break down, the world would experience the worst economic and socio-political crisis ever. Nothing would be functioning for a while.
No wonder that the last three messages of Pope Benedict XVI for World Communication Day focus on the Internet and the so called ‘new media’.
The difference is simple. In the case of the ‘old’ media, so to speak, the communication is basically one way. Somebody tells you something through a newspaper, radio, television, cinema, etc. and you basically listen and possibly think about it or discuss the issue with people sitting around you. Occasionally you may send a letter to the editor or ring up the radio station in the course of a program, but it’s a rare exercise.
The “new” media, based on the Internet, instead, allow permanent interaction and exchange of writings, sounds, and images (including your voice and face) practically as in a direct conversation.
Does all this seem unfamiliar for Papua New Guinea? Not really! In urban centers most of the middle class youth are on social networks, particularly Facebook.
And what about the rural areas? It’s a matter of time. It takes only a fairly reliable mobile telephone connection and you are on the Internet, happily connected to the rest of the world. And if you are an active Christian youth, you will share your journey of faith with people much beyond your parish or fellowship group. It doesn’t matter if you live in Port Moresby or rather in the Goilala Mountains, along the Sepik River or at Rossel Island!