Thursday, November 21, 2002

'Internet Fulfils Human Need for Continued Contact'

One of the successes of Internet today is that it fulfils the continued human need for contact, communication and community, said Dr. Michael Traber, Professor, Gregorian University, Rome, and United Theological College, Bangalore.

Speaking on the theme 'Internet, a new forum for unity and advancement', he emphasised the significance and meaning of Internet. "It is sound and site that rule our communication today, especially of young people," said Dr. Traber, in his keynote address, November 16, at the Bangalore Archdiocese's Workers Centre here.

He further added: "Internet is a combination of all media - a strange mixture of all. Now space disappears and it is only e-mail time."

Dr. Traber said the need for knowledge, orientation, updating, new identity, and building up a counter-culture are the keys to the success of the Internet. "The e-mail is cheap, simple and comes close to inter-personal relationships and so is a convergence of all media."

On the disadvantages of Internet, Dr. Traber pointed out that since the basic information about the other person such as age, sex, ethnical identity are eliminated, Internet is "culture destroying". "It also increases deception and lies even though it seems to be a celebration of freedom." Fr. Traber underlined uncontrollability of communication, misuse of pornography and a divide between have and have-nots as serious consequences.

At the inaugural function of SIGNIS-Karnataka, a major Church-run regional media organisation, Fr. Traber spoke of the pastoral potential of the Internet. "This media can be used for nurturing faith community. Chat groups can be encouraged for reflection and meditation. It has potential for building up of a pastoral network between parishes in the diocese," he said.

Pointing out to the area of ethics in media, he stressed on the shift of focus from ethics to 'user ethics'. He warned media persons saying, "If ethical guidelines are not set with responsibility, we will just miss the point."

Captain Austin Menezes, staff of the Archdiocesan Communication Centre, Bangalore, in his address spoke on the impact of Internet on the common man, especially the Christian laity. "Since Internet has had a great impact on humanity and has changed moral, ethical values, the Church cannot close its eyes to this reality," he said.

Earlier, Archbishop Ignatius Pinto of Bangalore, inaugurated SIGNIS-Karnataka and installed its office-bearers. They are Fr. S. Jayanathan, president, Fr. Periyannan Sebastian, vice-president, Sr. Jacintha smmi, secretary/treasurer, and Fr. Denis D'Sa (Director of Sandesha, Mangalore), ex-officio member.

On the occasion, messages from SIGNIS-India president, Fr. C. M. Paul sdb, Mr. Magimai Pragasam, vice-president, and Fr. Clarence Srampickal svd, secretary/treasurer, were read out.

SIGNIS is the official media organisation for Radio, Television and is functioning world over for the Church.