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Manipur Situation: Appeal letters to Prime Minister and National Commission for Minorities, India.


 

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TEXT OF APPEAL LETTERS TO

  • SHRI NARENDRA MODI, PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA; and
  • SHRI NASEEM AHMAD, CHAIRPERSON, NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR MINORITIES, INDIA.

 

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Communication for Peace and Unity: Indian Traditional Games Celebration

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26th January 2017, NCCI Campus, Nagpur

 NCCI Commission on Communications in partnership with India Peace Centre (IPC) and Christian Service Agency (CSA) organized an event on ‘Indian non-formal Games ’ at NCCI Campus Nagpur on 26th January 2017. The theme of this unique event was ‘Communication for Peace and Unity’. The main focus of this event was to promote peace, friendship and unity through games and help break barriers of communication, encourage low cost gaming and socializing. There were participants from various churches along with some children who participated in the event.

IMG_7259This event started with registration. After registration, I was privileged to welcome  all the church leaders and participants. Rt. Rev. Paul Dupare (Bishop, Nagpur Diocese, CNI) inaugurated the event with a  word of prayer. Miss Simran, intern from IPC gave instructions to all participants regarding  rules of the games. There were so many traditional games like Gilli Danda, Lagori, spinning tops, playing with marbles, tyre race, skipping etc. All the persons present participated enthusiastically in the games .

The first round was ‘free practice and get together’ round. The participants from different churches and organizations had a time to interact with each other and practiced together. I noticed that even senior participants were fully involved in the games and enjoyed them thoroughly.

IMG_7290Rev. Caesar David conducted the challenge round. In this round, all participants played Gilli-danda, Lagori, Spinning the top, Marbles and skipping. There were 5 prizes for every sport: first, second, third and 2 consolation prizes.  (As one of our aims was to promote good health, health products like Corn flakes, Oats, Honey and Dates were given as  prizes.)

Mr. Kasta Dip led the evaluation session. All participants shared their thoughts and what they learnt from this event.  Rev. Arif Umer Saheb said the closing prayer after that all participated in a fellowship lunch.

The Indian traditional games event was successfully organized and participants from different churches and organizations appIMG_7439 - Copyreciated the concept of playing together for communication and peace-building processes. Playing games of yester years was a very emotional experience for many participants who played the games as kids. Reconnecting with their childhood evoked not only child-like happiness and appreciation of simple joys but also inspired child-like mutual trust and loving harmony.

This event helped us to understand the importance of sports in peace building in our society. Sports can bring people together towards a common goal, while promoting respect and community with others. By building relationships between different groups, conflict can be transformed. In addition, sports can be used to impart values of good sportsmanship, teamwork, respect and communication skills needed to reduce tensions and prevent conflict.

Neelam Gaikwad

Programme Assistant – NCCI Commission on Communications.

 

DIGITAL REPORTING TOOL FOR DALIT EMPOWERMENT Launched.

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Mainstream media is often found to under-represent the interests of people in the margins of society such as the dalits in India who are outcaste. In this context, the lack of channels and inability to communicate their own concerns and bring to the fore their experiences of discrimination, has led to ignorance, unaddressed issues of inequality, inaccessibility to basic services, neglect, denial of rights and exclusion from the processes of decision-making and policy-making. The emerging consciousness about importance of Information and Communications Technology in the exploration of alternative media to create communication spaces can lead to the creation of pathways to digital frontiers that provide solutions towards affirmation of communication rights and implementation of inclusion concepts.

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NCCI’s new website

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NCCI’s new website ncci1914.com was inaugurated by NCCI President, Honourable Bishop Dr. P. C. Singh on August 11, 2016 in the course of the General Body meeting in Chennai. Bishop Dr. P. C. Singh appreciated NCCI’s Commission on Communications and Relations for the upgrade, and wished the website to be a channel for more effective accomplishment of ecumenical objectives as communicating communities seeking to synergize efforts in service of the Church and Society.

NCCI’s new website is aimed at incorporating newer strategies and website components towards optimizing available technology to the various ways people currently use it, and its new domain name brings into focus the historic standing and commitment of the Council. The website will serve as a repository for reference and relevant data as well as a portal for news from NCCI, its member bodies and ecumenical concerns in general. With a responsive web design and integrated cross-platform content sharing (eg. in addition to email, facebook, twitter and other online social media, news posts viewed on mobile devices can now be shared on whatsapp as well), NCCI has responded practically to changing trends of accessing and sharing data across multiple platforms, including smart phones. The NCCI news app for AndroidTM devices that complements the news components of the website, continues to be freely available on Google PlayTM

 

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NCCI Communications Pre-assembly (April 8 – 10, 2016 | CSI Synod, Chennai) – Program Report.

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) Communications pre-assembly entitled “Towards Just and Inclusive Communities: Communication for Life, Enablement and Growth”, organized by NCCI’s Commission on Communications and Relations, in partnership with Church of South India(CSI) Synod and Board of Theological Education of Senate of Serampore College(BTESSC), was held in CSI Synod, Chennai from April 8 to April 10, 2016.

 

There were 46 registered participants at this program representing many of NCCI member Churches and Organizations: Church of South India (CSI), Church of North India (CNI), Board of Theological Education of Senate of Serampore College (BTESSC), Marthoma Church, The Bible Society of India (BSI), The Salvation Army, Lott Carey Baptist Mission, India Peace Centre (IPC), India Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELC), Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches (STBC), Tamil Nadu Christian Council (TNCC), Hindustani Covenant Church (HCC), Christian Literature Society (CLS), Inter-Church Service Association (ICSA), Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI), Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church (GELC), Andhra Pradesh Council of Churches (APCC), Chattisgarh Council of Churches (CCC), Arcot Lutheran Church (ALC), National Missionary Society of India (NMSI), Kerala Council of Churches (KCC), NCCI – Urban Rural Mission (NCCI – URM). There were also members from other institutions: Gurukul Lutheran Theological College, Leonard Theological College, Anna University, Karnataka Christian Educational Society (KACES) and Madras Christian College.
Devotions on April 8th and 9th were prepared by Rev. Dr. Bavani Rajan (Pastor, Arcot Lutheran Church, Tambaram). His messages were inspiring Biblical reflections on various aspects of communications. His Praise & Worship team led the singing during the devotions.
At the inaugural session on April 8, 2016, on the dais were Adv. C. Robert Bruce(Hon. Treasurer, CSI), Rev. A. Suresh Kumar (Secretary, Trichy – Tanjore Diocese, CSI), Rev. Dr. Mohan Larbeer (Secretary, BTESSC), Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad (General Secretary, NCCI), Rev. Sunil Raj Philip (Director, Departments of Communication and Dalit & Adivasi concern, CSI Synod) andRev. Solomon (Director, Youth Department, CSI Synod). Adv. C. Robert Bruce inaugurated the program by lighting the lamp and gave the inaugural address. Each of the other dignitaries also added a flame to the lamp and spoke briefly to bring greetings and to wish the program and participants well.
The keynote address was delivered by Rev. A. Suresh Kumar. Tracing the development of communications to illustrate the context we are in and to which we need to be relevant to, he spoke emphatically and comprehensively about the range of communication issues that the Churches must address. He challenged Christian Communicators to strive to harness the vast potential in emerging technology while also avoiding the pitfalls and inherent dangers of such a rapidly changing context.
A Statement Committee was formed. Ms. Sushma Ramswami (Communication Secretary, Church of North India) and Rev. Abraham Varghese (Director of Animation Centre, Marthoma Church) headed the Statement Committee. Ms. Eva David (Executive Secretary, Inter-Church Service Association) and Mr. Joshua Marvin (Karnataka Central Diocese, CSI) volunteered to be the listeners.
The next two sessions “Prophetic role of the Communicator” and “Affirmative action” were taken by Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad. Among other challenges, he emphasized on social analysis, solidarity, advocacy and networking responsibilities of the communicator. He spoke also on affirmative action as non-compromising and definitive action on the side of justice for wholesome growth and development.
The session on “Networking: Church with People of other faiths” was taken by Mr. Kasta Dip (Director, India Peace Centre). He spoke about the conceptual and practical dimensions of the Church’s networking with people of other faiths. While emphasizing the need for working together and clarifying objectives of harmony, he gave practical hints for better networking and relations.
The session on “Pathways to Digital Frontiers for Just and Inclusive Communities” was taken by Rev. Sandeep Theophil (Director, Balmatta Institute of Language and Vocational studies; Principal, Karnataka Institute of Commerce; PRO, Karnataka Christian Educational Society). He spoke about using digital technology to counter the growing sense of discrimination and dissent by developing solutions that are ingrained with the culture of inclusion, peace and justice.
This section of presentations was moderated by Rev. Dr. Mohan Larbeer who, in his comments, underlined the emphasis on ‘Justice to the people using communication tools’ and also stressed on the need to develop counter-culture and counter-narratives to combat some of the issues found detrimental to justice objectives.
Most of the post-lunch sessions were on networking. The session on“Networking: Between Churches / denominations” was taken by Rev. Juliet Prince (Presbyter, CSI Madras Diocese). She spoke on the theological understanding of Church networking by presenting several models, and then emphasized the need for networking between Churches and denominations drawing out the possibilities as well as areas of challenges that need to be dealt with, finally concluding with the importance of oneness in common witness to be strong enough to challenge structures of violence and injustice.
The next session, “Networking: Church and Secular Media”, was taken byProf. Dr. I. Arul Aram (Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Anna University; Former HOD of Media and Communications; Research Scholar and Guide). He spoke about networking between Church and media with reference to its need and challenges. He spoke with concern for strengthening the ministries of the Church and with a focus on positive engagement to ensure growth and impact.
The session on “Networking: Church with FBOs and NGOs” was conducted byMr. Kasta Dip; he spoke about the need for building wider networks for greater impact in Church and Society as well as the obstacles that sometimes hamper this process of building wider networks. The session also brought out the need for capacity enhancement for Churches to be able to effectively network on a broader level.
The last session in this section, “Communication for Development” was taken by Prof. Dr. P. V. Sangeetha (HOD, PG Department of Communication, Madras Christian College, Chennai). She brought out the significant role and relationship between communication and development, and emphasized the need for alternative, participatory and people-centered paradigms.
The moderator for this section, Major Babu Samraj (Communication Secretary and Editor, The Salvation Army India National Secretariat, Kolkata), commented in acknowledgement of the need for wider networking of Churches and urged the exploration of working together at various levels towards adding strength to efforts for Just and Inclusive communities.
On April 9, 2016, the first session of the day “ICT Perspectives – Available tools and changing paradigms of efficiency” was taken by Prof. Thomas Manoj Samuel (Professor of Communications, Gurukul Lutheran Theological College, Chennai) who presented the vast array of technology that is available today and ways in which the Church can benefit from these in its struggle for justice and peace in the society. He challenged the Churches to explore the possibilities in this direction with greater enthusiasm, expectation and openness.
The sessions on “Communication towards Life, Enablement and Growth” and “Communication for Peace” were taken by Rev. Dr. Samuel W. Meshack(President, World Association for Christian Communication – WACC; Chairperson, NCCI Program Commission on Communications and Relations). Among other things, he explained how Communication affirms life by promoting truth-telling, fairness, openness, inclusion, participation and dialogue while it threatens life by censorship, misinformation, hate-speech, lies and exclusion. The latter session also brought out that Peace is ‘not only the absence of war, violence and hostilities, but also the enjoyment of justice, equality and the entire range of human rights and fundamental freedoms within society’. Complete with references to the Earth Charter, WACC Principles and other global models of communication, he dealt with the subject comprehensively, and challenged the Church as a communicator and also as individual communicators, to explore the potential of communication for Life, Enablement and Growth.
The next session “Addressing discrimination: specific issues about gender, caste, indigenous people, dispossessed, minorities (religious, sexual, racial, etc.)” was basically about ‘Communicating for emancipation’ and taken by Prof. Lanusenla Longkumer (Professor of Communications, Leonard Theological College, Jabalpur). Her paper delineated some of the struggles of people, particularly women, in their everyday lives and made an appeal to the churches and individual citizens to join hands in the search for the meaning for life. She presented several case studies to show instances of violence and discrimination. She also spoke about the Church’s response and included a video presentation showing examples of simple communication tools for campaigning and advocacy such as street plays, towards addressing these issues.
The last input session “The Church’s response, initiatives and challenges”was taken by Rev. Dr. Joel Patrick (Auxiliary Secretary, Jabalpur Auxiliary of the Bible Society of India). He spoke about the various communication models and tools used by Churches. While he urged exploration of new age communication technologies and models, he cautioned against dilution of core elements like people’s participation, identities, community spirit, indigenous forms of communication, and so on which may be counter-productive to the Church’s objectives.
This section was moderated by Dr. Esther Kathiroli (Secretary, Tamil Nadu Christian Council). She commented on communication tools for Just and Inclusive Community, and urged Churches to address specific issues in their respective areas especially those concerning basic rights. She stressed the important role played by communication in addressing these. She challenged Churches to use their communication modules more effectively and if found inadequate, to develop them urgently.
The afternoon of the second day was devoted to group discussions in which participants split in three groups had brain-storming sessions in light of the input sessions that had been conducted so far. The groups made lists of communications-related recommendations to Churches and Christian organizations. These lists were then handed over to the Statement committee to be incorporated in the draft that was being prepared.
On April 10, 2016, the Statement Committee – Ms. Sushma Ramswami and Rev. Abraham Varghese – presented the Statement draft to the participants which was followed by discussions, changes and finalization. The program closed withclosing comments, vote of thanks and closing prayer by Rev. Dr. Samuel Meshack. Rev. Dr. Mohan Larbeer pronounced the Benediction.
As noted from Rev. Dr. Samuel Meshack’s vote of thanks, the program team puts on record its sincere thanks to CSI Synod (Honorable Moderator of CSI, The Most Rev. Dr. G. Dyvasirvadam; Treasurer, Adv. C. Robert Bruce; General Secretary of CSI, Rev. Dr. Ratnakara Sadananda; and Director of departments of Communication, Dalits and Adivasis Concerns, Rev. Sunil Raj Philip) and BTESSC (Secretary, Rev. Dr. Mohan Larbeer) for their kind and generous support as partners with NCCI’s Commission on Communications and Relations for this Pre-assembly. Special thanks to all the resource persons for their valuable input through the presentations, insights, discussions and guidance.
We are very grateful to Rev. Dr. Samuel Meshack and Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad for strengthening the work of the commission through their continuous guidance and support.
The NCCI Communications Pre-assembly program brought together Church and Christian Organization leaders from across NCCI’s member bodies, most of them communication heads of their respective organizations. The resource persons were all communication experts equipped with the skill, knowledge and vision to contribute through their presentations, valuable ideas and directions for the communication concerns in India. The program was successful in covering the vast array of communication-related issues and concerns that the Churches and Christian Organizations in India must address especially in achieving the objectives of Just and Inclusive Communities. The program clearly established the role of communications as undeniably crucial, especially in the current context characterized by revolutionary and rapid changes in all aspects of life.Communication functions and tools must be developed by Churches and Christian organizations, and can be effectively used for solutions towards Life, Enablement and Growth.
Rev. Caesar J. David
Executive Secretary,
Commission on Communications and Relations,
National Council of Churches in India.

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Report of Citizen Journalism National Consultation and Training Program

2A Citizen Journalism national consultation and training program “Pathways to Digital Frontiers: Communication Rights and Inclusion” was organized from March 11 – 12, 2016 in Panjim, Goa. It’s a program of the Commission on Communications and Relations of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI-COCR), Christian Service Agency (CSA) and World Association for Christian Communication (WACC). There were 30 participants of various profiles: Theologians, Church leaders and Pastors, Social Workers, Community Development workers, Grassroots community enablers, heads of Institutions, Heads of NGOs, Communication leaders, and publishers. Many of NCCI’s constituent member bodies and all major regions from across India were represented. The concept of Citizen Journalism as communicated in the course of this national consultation and training program was a serious take on the responsibility and privilege to enable information sharing by developing communication pathways to digital frontiers in a way that opens up possibilities for advocacy and self-advocacy towards wider engagement, inclusion and ensuring communication rights.

NCC Review Subscription and Circulation management software inaugurated

Besides focusing on various communication-related issues in India, particularly those of communication rights and inclusive journalism, NCCI’s Commission on Communications and Relations has been promoting exploration of, and dynamic adaptation to, available Information and Communication Technology components along with emerging efficiency paradigms with a view to harnessing their potential for organizational and administrative effectiveness in Churches and institutions. One way to achieving greater efficiency is through the use of software solutions.
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“The Writing on the Wall” WRITERS WORKSHOP REPORT (UBS | November 26 – 28, 2015)

DSC03334A Writers Workshop, “The Writing on the Wall”, jointly organized by The Commission on Communication and Relations (COCR) of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), Board of Theological Text Book Program of South Asia (BTTBPSA) and Union Biblical Seminary (UBS), was held at UBS, Pune from November 26 – 28, 2015. Participants at the workshop included Pastors, theology students and theology professors from various denominations and colleges around India. The Program theme was conceived based on the fundamental premise that Prophetic writing is not only about being able to read the signs of times to come but to respond to it in boldness with a passion for truth and justice that itself becomes a force for transformation in society. The Program was purported to encourage a culture of writing to yield greater contribution to Theological text books in regional languages in India and also to produce the kind of writing that causes change and triumph of truth using not only traditional paradigms of writing but also effectively employing the tools available in emerging information and communication technology.

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Global Media Monitoring Project 2015 Press Release

The Commission on Communications and Relations (COCR) of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) promotes ‘Communication for all’ and is sensitive to issues of Communications Rights in India. Through advocacy programs, seminars and workshops, NCCI-COCR highlights the need for gender balance, equity, democracy and communication rights in responsible journalism and media processes.

The World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) promotes communication as a basic human right, essential to people’s dignity and community. WACC works with all denied the right to communicate because of status, identity, or gender. WACC has corporate and personal members in 120 countries, organized in eight Regional Associations: Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America and Pacific. The National Council of Churches in India is an active member.

The following is the press release from WACC’s Gender Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) 2015 which contains several important insights and concerns pertinent globally.



PRESS RELEASE

Progress for women in news media grinds to a halt

After 20 years, research in 114 countries reveals continued severe disparity between representation of women and men in news media

Progress towards equality of men and women in the news media has virtually ground to a halt according to the fifth and largest study on the portrayal and representation of women in the news media.

Extensive results of the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) released 23 November show that, worldwide, women make up about 50% of the general population but only 24% of the persons heard, read about or seen in newspaper, television and radio news, exactly the same level found in the 2010 report.

Women’s relative invisibility in traditional news media has also crossed over into digital news delivery platforms. Only 26% of the people in Internet news stories and media news Tweets combined are women.

The GMMP is a project of the communications advocacy agency WACC, with support from UN Women. The first such survey of gender portrayal in news media was conducted in 1995, and at five year intervals after that. GMMP 2015 is the largest research and advocacy initiative in the world on gender equality in and through the news. UN Women has supported the survey twice consecutively.