Eight Dimensions of Truth & Journalism
I AM GOING TO SPEAK TODAY AS A PARTICIPANT in the Christian tradition and as one deeply committed to the public, secular purpose of our common profession – our common calling in life - journalism.
In my almost constant travels and interactions with journalists of different nationalities, I've learned of various techniques and approaches to overcoming the challenges resisting those who try to be truth-seeking, honest, independent, and humble. The world around, journalists put tremendous energy into being fair and balanced professionals, and serving their societies by building transparency and openness. These are the sort of behaviors that almost any journalist anywhere would recognize and endorse.
Yet as Christians, it is also appropriate and necessary to draw from a deeper source of understanding in the Bible to develop our vocation and ethical approach to journalism. So I would like to offer eight reflections (and critical questions) that should constantly shape our professional standards and practices in light of our pursuit of Truth in an increasingly relativistic and postmodern world.
And to do so, I must begin with the source of meaning himself.
1. GOD IS THE SUPREME COMMUNICATOR
The God of the Bible is clearly the God who communicates with the human being.
As Johannes Henrici points out: ‘Communication is deeply rooted in God’s nature and it is this nature he imparted to humanity when he created us in his own image.”‘ Communication is a God-given capability given to the created human being and is “the only way to be fully human.” In principle, to be a human is to be a communicator. And communication – the ability to express oneself – remains God’s gift to humanity.
This basic understanding of communication as a result of God’s creating act in history deepens the understanding of God’s own deep desire for relationship with his created beings. Communication with Man is a deep desire in the heart of the Almighty God. His interaction with Man throughout history as reported in the Bible is a challenge for every Christian. Hearing the Good News, living by it and witnessing to it, is the basic calling to all Christians.
The reformer Martin Luther underlines this fundamental link between creation and communication. He claims that to be created in God’s image has to do with relationship and communication. That means I am created for dialogue. God’s communication with me takes the form of a conversation.