January 23, 2007
St. John’s University School of Law Professor
Leonard M. Baynes, Director of The
Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Development, took
part in a public forum on Religion and Broadcasting, which was
hosted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in
cooperation with the National Council of Churches of Christ and the
United Church of Christ, on January 9.
Leaders of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths including
Most Reverend Gerald F. Kicanas, Diocese of Tucson and Reverend
Robert Chase, Director of Communications, United Church of Christ,
as well as FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, gathered at the
Thirteen/WNET studio in New York to discuss the way in which
broadcasters cover religious events and whether that coverage meets
the needs of their community members.
Professor Baynes served as the day’s moderator, facilitating a
discussion between several key religious leaders including Rev. Dr.
Jacqui Lewis, Senior Pastor, Middle Collegiate Church; Rev. Peter
Panagore, First Radio Parish of America; Imam Yahya Hendhi,
Georgetown University; Rev. Kermit Netteburg, Seventh-Day Adventist
Church and Rabbi Marc Gellman, Temple Beth Torah, Melville, NY.
Professor Baynes opened the discussion with thoughts on the
media’s role throughout several major historical
events. During Dr. Martin Luther King’s struggle for Civil
Rights he used the media as a platform to discuss moral issues and
Pope Benedict XVI, during his message for the 40th World
Communications Day, warned against the “distortion that occurs when
the media industry becomes self-serving.”
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