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Is Anybody Listening?

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© FEBC International 2012

Role 1 - Information

In the market

News and Current Affairs

 

people tune in their radios or access web-sites for the latest news. They judge its integrity by the quality of information provided. If the news coverage is good then they are more credible. Throughout the world news is often suppressed or controlled by corrupt or authoritarian regimes. Large numbers of people look for sources that satisfy their need for trustworthy and objective coverage of local and world events.

In meeting this need as an act of service Christian radio stations can attract significantly wider audiences. But more than that, they place themselves in the arena of contemporary history. News is history in the making, and God is the author of history. His purposes, and His truths unfold in the global drama of news and current affairs.

Christian news broadcasters thus demonstrate their concern for life and the world around them. This is a dynamic part of the Gospel that relates to everyday life.

When a Christian fails to take note of the world around him — locally and globally — he is in effect saying that the message of the Gospel has nothing to say to the contemporary world. This is bad for the Gospel. Christian stations lose their penetration when they think their programming need not relate to news events. They lose out on vast potential audiences who would never tune in to Christian stations purely to hear Bible teaching. Yet people are drawn to listen when they hear Christian programs present reliable and interesting coverage of events which shape the world.

This has two implications for Christian broadcasters. First, we need to select our news topics with discernment, and treat them editorially with great care. We should not report events in a way that exalts worldly values. We should interrogate raw secular material to filter out bias, prejudice and false assumptions. We should not necessarily accept the approach to a news event adopted by the secular media — a Christian perspective is necessary. This is particularly relevant to secular stories that dwell on salacious detail, or obsessively see news events through political and material eyes, at the expense of the human dimension.

In Christian news journalism, the key is to test everything with spiritual and professional discernment. When done well, news-related programming has a sharp cutting edge. It graphically portrays situations and events where, in real life, God is at work. It also shows where Satan's prevailing influence is evident. News analysis might simply highlight Kingdom values instead of those of a secular, materialistic world. News programming directly engages real situations throughout society.

In real terms it may not always be practical or advisable to air straight news programs. In some more sensitive areas broadcasters may elect to take a comparatively conservative but safe stand towards newscast. They avoid doing news broadcasts but make strong efforts to integrate news and information into their other programs that are closely linked with their audience.

News eloquently tells the story of a world in need of God. By doing so it provides a ready platform for the Gospel — the Good News.

In another vein we consider the vital role that radio and other media can play in relaying critical information in the aftermath of natural disasters. It is a time when reliable information is badly needed. Victims need to know where to get help and badly needed supplies. They need to know what health precautions to take, especially with regard to food, water and sanitation.  They are anxious to find loved ones from whom they have become separated. They also need to tell their stories. Radio proves to be the ideal medium when it can respond promptly.  Hand-wind radios are especially useful for distribution within the affected community.

 

Last updated 11 Aug 2011

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