Fr. Ireneusz Skubiś
There are many, lots or even thousands of journalists. They work in radio, television, newspapers or editorial offices of electronic media. There are specialists in particular areas among them, for example, inquiry journalists, economy journalists, specialists in the area of culture or education. It is a specific profession and a special activity. They must be characterized by perceptivity, inquisitiveness and a linguistic ability, so as to highlight a problem in a few words. However, many journalists are aiming at showing in advance an intended culminating point so persistently that they are unscrupulous in choosing words and they simply hurt a man. There are different methods of such actions: specifically understood loyalty towards governing people, professional career, money, fame, the sale increase, popularity among viewers, etc. Certainly, the ordinary propriety outlines clear limits of these actions, in which sometimes young, clever, sensitive and ambitious people are involved. We must know that there is always a possibility for our reflections, thinking and withdrawal from decisions – improvement from the fall. And, this reflection on this issue is accompanied by, among the others, such days as the celebrated liturgical commemoration of St. Francis Salezy, a patron of journalists, on 24 January. St. Francis Salezy (1567 – 1622), an educated bishop, a man of great work on improving his faith, realized his writing skills and ministry in a confessional and a pulpit in Geneva. On the occasion of his Day, the Church wants to remind us of the journalist’s morality and his tasks. First of all, the Church wants to remind us of the fact that we must not do any breaches in the rules of the Decalogue, that journalist’s work is service to the truth, that journalists must not lose their honesty in doing their job. It also reminds about the Catholic social teaching which is an extremely valuable contribution on building the social order.
In the century of the crazy technology progress, there appear new forms of social media. However, they are subject to the same ethical norms. The Church is rich with important documents, which refer to specific tasks given to journalists and, also in present times. One of them is the instruction of ‘Aetatis novae’ which quite practically says about journalism, about tasks of journalists and also about pastoral work with this professional group. It would be good for journalists to know that in their difficult and specific work they are not alone, that the Church is interested in them and it is open for cooperation with them. Blessed John Paul II distinguished with this prominent talent in the work with journalists. First of all, he liked and respected a man very much, understood the specifics of the journalistic work, he never repudiated journalists and they appreciated this friendship very much, which we could see especially in the last days of the Holy Father’s life.
Today we speak about journalists with great reflection and care, so that they could be people of the right conscience. For journalists, through highlighting facts, events and people, make us see them in very various ways. It is not in vain to speak about media as the fourth authority. And it is all about our living in the truth, thinking in the truth and reacting to real facts, and not to the so-called media facts – as it has become a habit in the society to speak about a kind of information. Today we see many great respectable journalists in Poland for whom the truth is the priority, a basic and the most important thing. However, not everybody who works in media behaves so. There is also quite numerous group of journalists employed in Catholic media. They take up many actions for the sake of proclaiming the Gospel and service to a man as their brother and God’s child. I am grateful to everybody who works for our weekly ‘Sunday’. Although they do not earn a lot and it is sometimes difficult for them to maintain their families, they know that they serve to the good matter and try to do their work as best as possible. It is similar with journalists of other Catholic newspapers, Catholic radio stations or workers of internet editorial offices.
While, something bad against Catholic journalism is happening in the homeland forum. The recent events concerning the refusal of a place for the Catholic Television ‘Trwam’ on the digital platform do not fill us with optimism. For it is a blow not only at the specific television station, but also millions of ordinary, often poor Polish Catholics, for whom the television is the only one watched by them and to which they are convinced. Unfortunately, the authorities of the National Radio and Television Council (Pol. KRRiT), no matter that there are people among them who used to be connected with Catholic media, are using different methods to make it difficult for people to have an access to the Catholic media.
We do not demand any privileges or any special favours but we want only justice and democracy, not manipulation to gain an intended political goal. We hope that the collected signatures of thousands of people will wake the consciousness of people governing our media.