(Seoul, South Korea, August, 2019, SIGNIS Communication)
Wars in Europe, Africa and Asia; an ecological tragedy that does not cease; social conflicts throughout the planet; attacks on freedom of the press and the free expression of ideas; and increasingly widespread disinformation. All these are realities that call forth the creativity and the involvement of the network of communicators formed by SIGNIS and its allies. We must build stories of hope, democracy, and freedom of expression. In short, stories of community, where attentive listening is both the starting point and the very path to a communication that has the potential, the capacity, to resolve conflicts.
Here, from the vantage point of one of the societies with an advanced level of technology, we looked at the testimony of the Patron Saint of SIGNIS, Oscar Romero, whose creative, courageous communication engaged the people and laid the foundation for the resolution of a war charged with hatred for the poorest communities of his country.
Romero, with a creativity unprecedented in the history of Salvadoran communication, using technologically limited media, spoke with simple words which embodied in the culture of the communities among which he walked. He shared life with people who had lost their voice. He planted the seeds of a communication of hope.
In communion with Romero, the members of SIGNIS gathered in Seoul during the days of reflection at the 2022 World Congress and listened to each other with care. This was seen in many special ways: in the ideas of a new generation of communicators at the International Youth Forum; in journalists living in totalitarian systems, whose stories shook the International Journalism Forum; in the urgent need for sweeping changes that reduce our impact on nature, and in the members of SIGNIS Korea, who shared their cultural and communication experiences while offering fine hospitality. May we continue walking together as SIGNIS, renewing our association beside a new generation of communicators for the advancement of genuine communication in the world.
We wish to highlight the participation in the Congress of Dmitri Muratov, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021. Mr. Muratov was awarded the SIGNIS Peace Journalism Prize for his exemplary commitment to journalism which seeks to build peace through the defense of truth and at the service of justice.
Together we will continue in search of creative ways to contribute as communications professionals to the solution of the most serious conflicts that afflict humanity. From the war of aggression in Ukraine to the coup d’etat in Myanmar; from the murder of journalists in Latin America to the destruction of the Amazon and other key sources of clean air and water. Lastly, besides these and other scourges, there is the attack on democracy through disinformation and loss of confidence in democratic institutions.
It is in this spirit of synodality to which Pope Francis calls us once more, that SIGNIS renews its commitment to continue listening to and making visible people, communities and realities that remain invisible and thus excluded from digital communication and the great online portals of controlled by the media corporations of the world.
We will continue on this road of truth in communication and in life, listening with “the ears of the heart,” until we meet again at the SIGNIS World Congress in 2026.