It was the Saint Jean Eudes reception center in Attokpocodji that hosted the opening ceremony of the 8th edition of the Refresher Program of the African Catholic Press Union (UCAP). From August 9 to 17, Catholic journalists and communicators from West Africa will reflect on how to contribute to the search for peace and interreligious dialogue in Africa.
For days more than 80 participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo will focus on the theme “Interreligious dialogue and promotion of peace in East Africa”. west: contribution of communicators and media professionals”. After the official opening ceremony, it was with the inaugural conference on the main theme of the Refresher Cotonou 2023 edition that the work started.
Monsignor Bernard de Clairvaux Toha, Bishop of the Diocese of Djougou (Benin), revisited the history of the most practiced religions in the West African region. A region where there are mainly traditional religions, Islam and Christianity.
For him, diversity and ethnic or religious plurality should be an asset for living together instead of being a hindrance. The prelate invited the peoples of West Africa to get to know each other. Self-knowledge will certainly break down the stereotypes that exacerbate mistrust and disintegrate the social fabric. As a solution for the promotion of peace, the author of the day advocated the promotion of religious tolerance, “frank dialogue”, “interreligious exchanges”, “community development projects”, “interreligious education”.
After the inaugural communication, the second panel whose theme was “African solidarity in the face of religious extremism: what role for the media and communicators?” was developed by two teacher-researchers. Théodore Loko, former ambassador of Benin to the Vatican, teacher-researcher and Fernand Nouwligbeto, journalist, also teacher-researcher.
The two researchers recalled the social responsibility of journalists in the exercise of their profession. They made it known that the pen is a weapon that can contribute to exacerbating a crisis. Examples of biased media articles and content in Rwanda were cited as an illustration.