Christians and churches of all denominations are being urged to pray for the media on Sunday 1 November. The appeal comes from Christians in Media, a network working across all forms of media – online, print, local, national and global.
And it follows the Queen's praise for the role of the news media after she told UK media organisations: "The Covid-19 pandemic has once again demonstrated what an important public service the established news media provides, both nationally and regionally.
"As our world has changed dramatically, having trusted, reliable sources of information, particularly at a time when there are so many sources competing for our attention, is vital."
The Queen's comments come against a background where, around the world, journalists, broadcasters, social media commentators, producers and others in media are increasingly coming under attack. Claims of fake news and disinformation are being levelled against media outlets and governments are stepping up press controls.
The pandemic, climate change, and racism are three of the 'hotspot' areas where reporting is coming under fire. In the US, the media are in the crossfire of a bitter election campaign. In the UK, Brexit and its aftermath have sparked sharp exchanges about the media's role.
The news and entertainment media are not perfect. Yet as followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to affirm all the positive aspects of the media, and to pray for change where it is needed.
Here are five reasons why Christians should pray for the media:
- The media hold the powerful to account, making sure the actions and motivations of people with high positions, influence and resources are scrutinised and challenged.
- They highlight unjust practices, investigating how people and organisations can take advantage of others away from public view. The media call for justice, and support causes and individuals where the law needs to be upheld or changed.
- They give a voice to the voiceless, providing opportunities for people on the margins of society to be noticed and heard.
- The media keep people informed, enabling each of us to participate in our democracy. The broader the media available, the more aware we are of other people's views and motivations – and can help us break out of the 'echo chambers' of social media.
- They tell us stories to entertain us and inform us about our world, sparking our actions, our giving, and our prayers.
On Sunday 1 November, Christians in Media is encouraging Christians to give their support to people working in the media striving for integrity and truth, and to uphold Christians working in all forms of media.
The network has published an online resource to help churches include the media in their prayers. One of the prayers is:
Creator God, your Son told his disciples that the Truth would set them free.
Help us to seek after Truth in all we do.
As communicators, may we pursue Truth with diligence and passion.
As readers, listeners and viewers, may we discern Truth from falsehood, and always seek the good of
As followers of Christ, may we grow more into His likeness, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
I look forward to saying this prayer with you on Sunday 1 November!
Rev Peter Crumpler is a former Director of Communications with the Church of England, and the author of 'Responding to Post-Truth' (Grove Books).