Master of Journalism student, Francis Wong Ka-Chun (MJ 2012), won a scholarship to study religion and communications at a seminar in Geneva this summer.

Wong (third from left) at the Ecumenical Institute with fellow scholarship recipients and keynote lecturer

The World Association of Christian Communication (WACC) sponsored the scholars for the seminar spanning the first two weeks of August.

The course load took place at the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey; the aim was to educate students in the intricacies underlying differing media systems and their respective ethics.

Topics covered at the seminar included human rights and the media, how to use communication as a means for social development, and overcoming challenges of reporting on difficult beats, such as poverty.

“The seminar emphasised the use of communication to promote human rights and social development,” Wong said.

“The gaining of knowledge about media systems in different countries or reflection on ethical issues related to communication is complemented by the living experience of the difficulty of communication among people from different cultural contexts and language,” said Dr Dagmar Heller, Professor of Theology at Bossey and Dean of Academic Affairs at the University of Geneva, on the goal of the programme.

Wong said he shared the underlying belief that “communication is a fundamental right and media is not just a commodity” by the time he received his certificate of completion.

The seminar was jointly organised by the University of Erlangen-Nuremburg, Germany and the Ecumenical Institute – the World Council of Churches, a unit attached to the University of Geneva.

Students hailed from countries across the globe including Brazil, China, Ghana, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine. WACC general secretary Karin Achtelstetter said this diversity provided an opportunity “for much needed South-North exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of communications.”

Wong credits the JMSC for his success in the summer programme. He said that his coursework at HKU allowed for a deeper understanding of the connection between the media and issues of ethics and morality. He also thanked his lecturers for strengthening his skills in reporting and grasping critical, and often intellectually complex, issues in media studies.

“The issues I’ve covered about media systems and media ethics consolidate what I have learnt at the JMSC,” Wong said of his experience in Geneva.