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New Media for a New Generation


By Fr. Joaquim Fernandes, sdb
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Mumbai, Feb. 25. (Secunderabad)- SIGNIS INDIA held its Annual General Assembly, February 16-19 at Tulsi Garden Carnival Club, Secunderabad. The event was attended by Signis World President Mr. Augustine Lourdusamy and General Secretary Mr. Alvito DeSouza and about one hundred members representing thirteen Signis regions in India.
The SIGNIS President complimented Signis India members for the wonderful work done and were doing in the field of Communication.  He stated that this year is significant year because The SIGNIS World Congress 2013 will take place in Beirut, Lebanon on the theme ''Media for a Culture of Peace: Creating Images with the New Generation''.  The theme ''underlines the continuing commitment of SIGNIS to work with children and young people to promote their rights in and through the media'', he said.  He urged Signis India to be part of the great event in solidarity with all Christians working in Lebanon and the Middle East.

The seminar studied the theme: ''NEW MEDIA FOR A NEW GENERATION''. The 'Jesus Youth' Leader Donny Peter in his keynote address emphasized that the new media can be effectively engaged in the mission of the Church. He suggested the creating of a website for vocations for youth thinking of joining religious life with details of the various congregations in one portal. He explained how the companies keep the customers engaged and has a continuous evaluation mechanism to keep products evolving in the market.  Today the Church needs to go out to shepherd the flocks who are marginalized and lead people to Christ through the new social networks. Chairman, CBCI Office for Social Communications, Bishop Chacko Thottumarickal urged the Catholic communication professionals in the country to become more committed to and involved in the mission of the Church and in the proclamation of the Good News of Christ.

Signis World Secretary General Mr. Alvito DeSouza, Pontifical Mission Society National Director Faustin Lobo and CBCI OSC Secretary Fr. George Plathottam  spoke  on Signis Project writing and sharing of resources and talents.  DeSouza highlighted the significant contribution made by Signis India to policy making and leadership in the Signis world during the last eight years. ''Signis India's vibrancy has led the way in ideas, new initiatives and curative practice,'' said DeSouza. He added, ''the process and methodology used in the initiatives undertaken in India has thrown new light for Signis to go forward,'' ''Signis is not a funding agency'', insisted DeSouza clarifying to members that ''Signis' duty is only to process and screen media projects for the Pontifical Commission for the Proclamation of the Peoples which subsidizes media activities in select countries. DeSouza further requested Signis India to develop a project monitoring and evaluation system with the help of PMS (Pontifical Mission Society).

The media activity reports of 13 Signis regions from across India were also presented. Several national and regional projects and activities of the members such as the Hindi film Khristayaan were released. During the event Fr. Joaquim Fernandes sdb Director of Tej-Prasarini, Don Bosco Bosco presented a copy of Fr. Peter Gonsalves SDB's music album entitled: 'The Peter Gonsalves' Collection-Lyrical Food For The Soul' to the general secretary Mr. Alvito DeSouza. The album compositions and lyrics are engaging, the melodies are captivating and the orchestration is variegated.  
The book ''Early Christians of the 21st century - Stories of incredible Christian witnesses from Khandamal Jungles'' by Anto Akkara was also released.  The national reports highlighted the various activities of the CBCI-OSC and national training institute, NISCORT, especially the formation of Media Research Group, Art.i, formation programs for seminaries  and efforts to form media clubs in  seminaries, national forum of tribal and folk media, community radio etc.

Other sessions conducted at the Seminar were by Mr. Michael Peria of Propelled Multi-Media Practice-CMC Ltd on Website; S.V Lakshmi Kant, Head Performance Management, IMIMobile on Social Media, and Mr. Sumanta Banerjee, head - Mobile practice CMC Ltd. on Mobile Media. The Seminar which commenced on the afternoon of February 18, concluded on February 20.  

The Signis India members visited the sprawling 1666-acre Ramoji Film City, set up by Ramoji Group in 1996. The complex is the land of a million dreams, where comprehensive and world-class filmmaking facilities await dream merchants for a celluloid journey. Certified by the Guinness World Records as the world's largest film studio complex, at Ramoji Film City a filmmaker can walk in with a script and walk out with a film. The massive dreamscape vibrant with flamboyant locales, picturesque avenues, make-believe sets and outstanding film-making infrastructure make it a filmmakers' paradise.
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