[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has thanked journalists for their role in “challenging weakness, exposing wrongdoing, asking awkward questions and holding the Church to account.”
Speaking to Journalists in Lusaka Airport at the end of a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, he thanked them for the work they did and asked them if he could pray for them.
“I am very honoured as well by the presence of so many of the media,” he said at the end of the press briefing. “Thank you very much for coming today, it is much appreciated,” he said, adding that “I wasn’t quite expecting so many of you.”
He acknowledged “the difficult job the media have to do – especially during an election.” When he asked them if he could pray for them, there was a resounding “yes”.
Archbishop Welby is in Lusaka for the Anglican Consultative Council standing committee, which is meeting today and tomorrow; and the 16th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council – ACC-16 – which gets underway on Friday.
On Wednesday morning, the local organising committee for ACC-16 held a breakfast briefing for Zambian journalists – the fourth such briefing they have held in the run up to the start of the international gathering of Anglican laity, clergy, bishops and archbishops on Friday.
The press officer for the local ACC-16 organising committee, Judith Sibonginkhosi Tembo, repeated Archbishop Welby’s thanks for the work of the media, and encouraged them to “report truthfully, without fear or favour.” Journalists in Zambia have come under fire in the country’s tripartite general election campaign; with reports that some have faced bullying, threats and intimidation to report in a particular way.
Archbishop Justin Welby’s prayer for journalists:
Lord our God we give you thanks for the media,
For the way in which – often uncomfortably for many of us – they challenge our weaknesses, expose where we have gone wrong, ask us awkward questions; and in a healthy and good way, quite often make life difficult.
Bless them in their work in Zambia,
Give them strength and courage to pursue the wrong,
Give them honesty in reporting what is true,
And enable them to be contributors to the flourishing of this country,
We pray in Jesus’ name.