MANILA, Nov. 12, 2014 — Western narratives and perceptions do not only dominate in media or cultural conventions, but also apparently, in the Sala Stampa (Vatican pressroom) where journalists from Asia are rarely seen.
This is the observation made by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle when he attended the recently concluded Third Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization” held in Rome last October 5 to 19.
“The Sala Stampa or the press conference was really dominated by the West…On the second conference that I attended, it just shook me. There was not a single Asian journalist, in the hundreds and hundreds of international journalists. Sad to say,
there was also not a single African,” Tagle said in a press conference held at the Arzobispado de Manila last Oct. 30.
“So I asked myself, ‘Who will report on the concerns of Asia? Who will report on the voice of Asia being raised in the Synod hall?’ And that is precisely the concern of the Synod, letting the various and diverse situations and challenges surface,” he added.
Tagle said basing from stories of existing reports would not give a complete account of the events that transpired as the published reports are already filtered by media outfits.
“I know for a fact that some people thought that the only topics discussed in the Synod were divorce and same sex unions. I assure you that they were discussed, but those were not the only concerns,” he said.
Raising this observation, Tagle called for equal representation by urging media organizations in Asia to send their representatives to the Vatican, enabling them to come up with a first-hand account of events that transpired in the city.
“I am appealing to you, especially to those who are covering this for the Filipinos or for Asia…If it is possible for you to be assigned to the Vatican full-time [please do so], you would have greater access to events and you won’t need to rely from the report of other media outfits,” he said. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)