Combat media ‘toxicity, urges Pope

Catholic media

Pope Francis says Catholic media communicators need to use extra care and make educational efforts in their work.

They need to find ways to combat situations where media can “become places of toxicity, hate speech and fake news,” he says.

His message for members of Signis, the World Catholic Association for Communication, makes his position on their work clear: Catholic communicators have an important role to play “through media education, networking Catholic media and countering lies and misinformation”.

Francis’s words for Signis members was particularly aimed at the Catholic media who will be attending, in person or online, the Signis World Congress in Seoul, South Korea, on 15-18 August.

The theme for the World Congress is “Peace in the Digital World”.

“During the months of lockdown due to the pandemic, we saw clearly how digital media could bring us together, not only by disseminating essential information but also by bridging the loneliness of isolation and, in many cases, uniting whole families and ecclesial communities in prayer and worship,” the pope’s message says.

He also notes that digital media and especially some social media platforms have “raised a number of serious ethical issues that call for wise and discerning judgment on the part of communicators and all those concerned with the authenticity and quality of human relationships.

“Sometimes and in some places media sites have become places of toxicity, hate speech and fake news,” his message says.

Francis is urging Signis and other Catholic media professionals to double their efforts to “assist people, especially young people, to develop a sound critical sense, learning to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, good from evil, and to appreciate the importance of working for justice, social concord and respect for our common home”.

Pointing to his message for World Communications Day 2022, Francis also urged members to remember that listening is “the first and indispensable ingredient of dialogue and good communication”.


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News category: World.

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