The Australian Catholic Media Congress, held last week in Sydney, brought together bloggers, academics, journalists and activists who, as Christians, engaged with New Media. Delegates relayed much of the promise to the Church brought by New Media, highlighted the necessity for Christians to engage this new communicative form, as well as flagged the very serious challenges posed by the medium itself to the Church.
One of the highlights of the congress that demonstrated the promise of New Media is that of anti-sexploitation activist Melinda Tankard-Reist (pictured left) who, using Twitter, was able to bring down within 4 hours a Harvey Norman advertising campaign which used lap dancing with Santa as a prelude to advertise family photo portraits for Christmas. Australian readers might note that, following her splendid presentation, Tankard-Reist will be the keynote speaker at Campion College’s Faith Formation and Virtue young adults seminar (click on the link for further details and registration).
Another highlight was hearing Monsignor Paul Tighe, Secretary for the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in the Vatican, who provided a highly sophisticated and nuanced coverage on the elements to be aware of concerning new media.
Matthew Tan, Lecturer in Theology and Philosophy at Campion College and blogger at large for the Divine Wedgie also gave a paper that vied with Scott Stephens from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Religion and Ethics Portal for the award of “most pessimistic presentation on New Media”, but nonetheless received positive feedback. A post-interview video was created by the Australian Catholic Bishops Media Centre, which could be found below.