ASIA/PAKISTAN - The President of Signis Pakistan: "Mass media are instruments of peace and hope in times of pandemic"

Friday, 27 November 2020 mass media   peace   solidarity   discrimination   religious minorities   islam  

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) - "Secular mass media and Christian media in Pakistan have an important role in this difficult time: they have highlighted the tragedy of Covid-19 and its effects on family life, in particular how people have lost their jobs and have no source of income to take care of their family's basic needs. The coronavirus has greatly affected social life, religious and political activities, the economy and culture. Not only has it destroyed people's peace of mind, but it has also led them to live in fear. Many sick people were afraid to go to hospital for fear of dying". This is what Fr. Qaisar Feroz, OFM Cap, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission for social communications and president, of "Signis Pakistan" told Fides.
On the sidelines of the recent assembly of Signis Asia, Fr. Qaisar Feroz told Fides: "In the midst of the pandemic, the mass media have played a very important role in raising awareness of the needs of the most vulnerable and poor in Pakistan and Asia and have given a positive message of hope and encouragement. They have also helped to create the right awareness on the necessary measures and reported the negative effects of Covid-19 on family and social life".
Among the positive aspects, the Capuchin friar adds: "The media have also denounced and condemned certain Islamic fundamentalist groups who have begun to exploit humanitarian aid, distributing it in exchange for conversion to Islam, and have stigmatized those who acted with a discriminatory mentality, denying aid to non-Muslim citizens".
Referring to the work of "Signis Pakistan", the President said: "We have produced video songs, radio programs, posters, postcards and video messages to bring hope into people's lives. We have focused on encouraging families, especially those people who have lost their jobs due to the lockdowns imposed for Covid-19. We have paid a very special tribute to doctors, nurses, paramedics for their extraordinary commitment and sacrifice during this pandemic". The Signis Pakistan team of volunteers also distributed food rations to 300 needy families, especially day laborers and the unemployed.
Fr. Qaisar also points out: "the media have also highlighted, criticized and condemned certain Islamic fundamentalist groups who have started distributing ration bags to convert people to Islam instead of keeping the priority which was to help people in the midst of this pandemic. They also stigmatized the few groups which acted according to a discriminatory and partisan mentality, denying aid to non-Muslims in their areas ".
The friar concludes: "The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us that the family is the most important and safest place in the world. It has taught us that we need God's help, that we are not masters of life, but administrators. It is a lesson for the whole of humanity".(AG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 27/11/2020)