KENYA: Nuncio Bert van Megan Calls for Human Dignity and Digital Responsibility on World Social Communication Day

By Wesley Omondi

NAIROBI, MAY 14, 2024 (CISA) – Archbishop Hubertus van Megen, the Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan has urged the faithful to embrace a calling to uphold human dignity amidst the rapid advancements in technology especially in their use of digital platforms.

In a thought-provoking homily delivered to Catholic communicators in the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi gathered at the Assumption of Mary Catholic Church, Umoja, to celebrate the 58th World Day of Social Communications on May 12, 2024, Archbishop van Megen underscored the intricate intersection of human dignity and the digital age, noting that the new era of technology significantly influences human values, human rights, and human dignity.

The papal diplomat emphasized the pivotal role of Catholic media in disseminating the message of dignity and respect in today’s digitally-driven society. Applauding the efforts of various Catholic media outlets, he urged the faithful to leverage these platforms to promote values that uphold human dignity.

“We are all called to live out that great vocation to live out human dignity to the full,” he said.

In his homily, the Nuncio did not shy away from addressing the challenges posed by emerging technologies, particularly artificial intelligence (AI). He cautioned against the unchecked proliferation of AI, highlighting its potential to encroach upon human dignity if not wielded responsibly.

“Computers are getting ever more intelligent, ever more human if you want to say, in good and in bad, in the positive and the negative,” he noted.

Moreover, Archbishop van Megen drew attention to the pervasive issue of social media addiction, noting its detrimental impact on individuals’ well-being and dignity. He also lamented the prevalence of fake news and rumours circulated on online platforms, stressing how these digital phenomena undermine human dignity and even endanger lives.

“Think of the many fake stories that are trumpeted around the world, think about the many rumours that people strum over that are distributed and are destroying people’s dignity and even their lives,” he posed.

In his impassioned plea for digital responsibility, Nuncio urged the faithful to discern truth from falsehood and to actively combat the spread of misinformation online. He called upon individuals to exercise prudence and integrity in their digital interactions, recognizing the profound implications of their online conduct on human dignity.