Telling the truth: why a special service and Day of Prayer for the Media really matter

(Photo: Unsplash/Tim Mossholder)

A special online service celebrating the role of Christians who work in and with the media has been announced for 21 October. Ten days later, churches and Christians are being encouraged to take part in a Day of Prayer for the Media.

Both events are of key importance for Christians concerned about integrity in society, and the role a thriving media can play in speaking truth to power.

The service and Day of Prayer come as the vital role of the media was underlined by this year's Nobel Prize for Peace being awarded to campaigning journalists Dmitry Muratov of Russia, and Maria Ressa of the Philippines. The Nobel Prize judges said: "Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda."

The judges' words resonate with the theme of the special online service – 'Integrity: Telling the Truth' – organised by Christians in Media, a UK-based network bringing together Christians who work in and with media in all its forms.

Tim Pemberton, Head of Religion and Ethics for the BBC's audio output, will be the service's main speaker. Others taking part include Tim Levell, programme director of Times Radio; Warren Nettleford of ITV News; Lucy Denyer, of The Telegraph; and BBC broadcaster Sandra Godley. Worship will be led by Andy Smith. The service is open to anyone who wishes to take part online.

It will be hosted by comedian Paul Kerensa, and include interviews with young people on the pioneering Christians in Media mentoring scheme.

On 31st October, the network is inviting Christians to support its annual Day of Prayer for the Media.

Steve Cox, who chairs Christians in Media, is encouraging churches to pray for "their local, regional, national, and social media; those in their congregations who work in, and with, media to be salt and light in this crucial area of public life; for younger Christians to consider entering media to help shape the media landscape and content; and for all Christians working in, and with, media to be Truth Tellers."

As part of the resources for the day, here's a prayer I wrote for the media – both for those who work in it, and those who read, listen or watch their output:

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 others.
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.

Rev Peter Crumpler is a former Director of Communications with the Church of England, and the author of Responding to Post-truth (Grove Books).