The 'digital divide' widens the gap between rich and poor
Seoul, Korea.- With the reading of the Final Declaration, the SIGNIS 2022 World Congress concluded, which took place from August 15 to 18, in the capital of South Korea. In the concluding document, the participants expressed concern about the increase in the gap between rich and poor caused by the digital divide , for which they consider that “a strategy of infrastructure and equitable digital access can develop a “resilient environment” and support the “comprehensive human development”.
Thus it was also recognized that “as people become hyperconnected, they also face the challenge of socioeconomic, cultural, political, religious, spiritual and ecological disconnections, leading to isolation, confusion and hopelessness”.
The statement warned of the destructive behaviors caused by "online gaming, addiction to pornography, overexposure to violence and content of a divisive nature in the media," as well as "the devastating effects of fake news." in contemporary society, such as communal clashes between people”.
As highlighted, "vulnerable groups in society are often the main victims of false news", for which they express the commitment to "communicate true and significant information to promote their struggles".
In the final Declaration, the expressions of Pope Francis are echoed, who says that 'God's style is closeness, compassion and tenderness', for which he highlights the need to "weave the net with truth and beauty of faith and hope. The technology has to be imbued with ethics and consideration.”
Thus, a call is also made “to media professionals and citizens to take measures to protect the human rights of civilians trapped in war and conflict zones. Media professionals are especially encouraged not only to report on events, but also to be actively involved in supporting war victims and working on conflict resolution.”
The full text of the Final Declaration of the SIGNIS World Congress is available here:
SIGNIS World Congress 2022, Declaration
Theme: Peace in the digital world
“Behold, I do a new thing; now it springs up, do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43,19)
We, the delegates of SIGNIS, the World Catholic Association for Communication, coming from 34 countries, meet at Sogang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea, from August 14 to 18, 2022.
We have discussed and deliberated on the topic 'Peace in the Digital World.
As we leave this Congress with new knowledge, awareness and resolutions, we find much to reflect on.
We live in a world where the 'digital divide' widens the gap between rich and poor, leading to unequal access to the fruits of the digital revolution.
We realize that as people become hyperconnected, they are also challenged by socioeconomic, cultural, political, religious, spiritual, and ecological disconnections, leading to isolation, confusion, and hopelessness.
Online gaming, porn addiction, overexposure to violence, and content of a divisive nature in the media lead to destructive behaviors.
We recognize the devastating effects of fake news in contemporary society, such as communal clashes between people. Vulnerable groups in society are often the main victims of fake news.
We realize that an equitable digital access and infrastructure strategy can develop a “resilient environment” and support “integral human development”.
We need to move from individual engagement to community building.
As Pope Francis says, 'God's style is closeness, compassion and tenderness'.
We need to weave the web with the truth and beauty of faith and hope. The technology has to be imbued with ethics and consideration.
We believe that it is possible to build a new society by creating awareness that inspires us to work together in peace with people of different cultures, beliefs, religions and ideologies.
We affirm a genuine interest in marginalized people and are committed to communicating true and meaningful information to further their struggles.
We urge media professionals and citizens to take action to protect the human rights of civilians trapped in war and conflict zones. Media professionals are especially encouraged not only to report on events, but also to be actively involved in supporting war victims and working on conflict resolution.
By doing so, we can pass on the legacy of peace to the next generation.
We need to cultivate the journalistic values of advocating for justice, holding authorities accountable, and establishing common ground.
Through well-researched context and nuanced explanation, in order to provide a guiding light for our readers, viewers, and listeners.
We are encouraged by the stories of young people from around the world about building peace. By listening to these stories of young people involved in media activities, we play their vital role in building communities and promoting peace through modern technologies and creative methodologies.
We extend an open invitation to the youth of the world to join us in peacebuilding processes.
We feel that we left this Congress spiritually and professionally enriched. We believe that through the renewing power of the Holy Spirit we can achieve peace in the digital world.
SIGNIS World Congress, Seoul,
August 18, 2022.