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The Challenge of Reporting on Injustice


The media are called to serve human dignity, helping people to live and perform good as people in community, according to Jose Marmol, an Ecuadorian journalist and editor of Signis.

Faced with grave injustices, it is not enough for journalists or communicators to say their job is simply to report things as they are, says Marmol (pictured above), who also serves as spokesperson for the organization of Catholic communicators in Latin America and the Caribbean.  

Marmol points out that media themselves often contribute to the injustices and imbalances that cause suffering:

“Some cases of human suffering are largely ignored by the media, while others are reported. This reflects a decision by communicators, and it also reflects an unacceptable selectivity. We must break down the barriers and monopolies which leave so many countries on the margins of development, and to provide all individuals and nations with the basic conditions that allow them to share in development,” says Marmol, referring to the key document "Ethics in Communications,” produced by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

He points out that the Church must "take the side of justice, in solidarity with all believers, the communion service of the people, nations and cultures, dealing with conflict and division." To be a journalist covering religion, one must also acknowledge and seek to get as much specific knowledge as possible about the church, its rites and worship.

Marmol challenged Christians who are religion reporters to avoid superficiality and bad taste and instead “prioritize recording and communicating the realities of our people, their hopes and demands, their joys as well as their struggles to seek a decent life.”

Marmol addressed a conference of Christian journalists and communicators in Ecuador on March 24, a day when the Catholic Church remembered Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero of El Salvador. It was 34 years since he was shot and killed.

As a champion of justice and peace, the Archbishop boldly stood up, fighting against injustice and violence, running a radio station to promote truthful information:  “It is a pity not to trust the news  or newspapers, television or radio because everything is bought, is rigged, and no one tells the truth, " Romero said in a speech on April 2nd, 1978.

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