The right to communication is inherent to all other human rights and its exercise needs to have a liberating character, becoming the invisible link that keeps faith communities united, said Dennis Smith, president of the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) in São Leopoldo, Brazil.

Smith ― a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission co-worker serving in Argentina ― was lecturing at the International Congress of the Facultades EST (Faculties Higher School of Theology) here Sept. 11-14.  

WACC’s guiding document on Christianity and the media, first made public in 1986 and recently revised, affirms that communication is a spiritual exercise capable of celebrating cultural diversity, building relations, creating communities, broadening participation, and challenging injustice.

“When inclusive, communication makes the collective experiences more vivid and enriches the interchange of information in public spaces,” emphasized Smith when addressing professors, researchers, and students attending the congress.  

Smith said that besides promoting connectedness, establishing caring relationships with others and with Creation, the incorporation of technology in society multiplies voices and allows that historically invisible persons express their beliefs and opinions.

The president of WACC underlined that in spite of the homogeneity produced by globalization, many people are recovering their cultural identity. He stressed that in that scenario, it is fitting that communicators foster societies in which the cultures can live together in peace and in dialogue.   

With regard to the challenge of reaffirming justice through communication, Smith reminded his audience that the concentration of the media conglomerates generates a scenario in which small groups of power decide which voices and images will be made available for public knowledge, molding the opinion of those who consume media information. 

Mentioning the work of Colombian anthropologist Jesús Martín-Barbero, Smith also reminded those present that besides being a technical instrument, communication represents a process of building meanings together.