THE FOURTH ESTATE – Professor José Manuel Simões On World Communications Day

Pedro Daniel Oliveira

The 52nd World Communications Day, to be marked on Sunday, May 13, is “extremely important” for university professor José Manuel Simões, since the “Fourth Estate” [or “Fifth Column”], namely the press, has the role of contributing to the balance of societies.

“The media sector is the fourth power, which arose to watch over other powers. This role for the balance of societies, always bearing in mind ethical and deontological values, is of crucial importance for regimes, especially democratic ones, but also for informing and educating citizens worldwide,” Mr Simões told O CLARIM.

Talking about the Catholic media’s significance in the world, he said that “it has indeed a path of centuries of great importance” for societies. “It should give this example of ethical and deontological rigor, in the fulfillment of these vectors,” he stressed, adding that “over the years it has also helped to build a better world and a more dignified, more just, fraternal and united society,” citing the case of O CLARIM.

“In fact, it is important that the media linked to the Catholic Church be watchful over this,” Mr Simões said, referring to ethics and deontology of the media sector in the globalized world.

Regarding the secular media, Mr Simões started quoting Pope Francis’   words left at the Italian Conference of Secular Institutes in October 28, 2017 — ”Attentive to the world, with your heart immersed in God.” He then said, “The Holy Father leaves a very clear message regarding the way of being in the world and the idea of living,” as “the vocation and mission of the laity is to attend to society as a whole and to the surrounding reality.”

Moreover, he emphasized that the “manifestation of the divine” is also important for lay people in general, since they should be “attentive to what happens in the world, always with attention and focus on the heart immersed in God, as Pope Francis said.” Mr Simões is Associate Professor at the University of São José (USJ), and Coordinator for the Department of Communication and Media of USJ.

World Communications Day is the only global celebration established by the Vatican Council II. Pope Paul VI was the first to celebrate it on May 7, 1967. Since then it has been celebrated in many countries on the Sunday prior to the Feast of Pentecost.