Pope Francis wants journalists to avoid "fake news"
26 Января 2018, 02:38 | Jenny Fowler
Pope Francis Compares Fake News to Snake in Garden of Eden
Pope Francis gives a weekly general audience in St Peter's square, on January 24, 2018 in Vatican.
The pope said that the lies concealed by fake news are not always easy to uncover "since disinformation is often based on deliberately evasive and subtly misleading rhetoric and at times the use of sophisticated psychological mechanisms".
"Spreading fake news can serve to advance specific goals, influence political decisions and serve economic interests", the pope said.
People have a responsibility to check the source of what they share on social media to ensure it is not "fake news" created to further prejudices or increase fear, Pope Francis said.
Fake news goes viral due to an "insatiable greed" for power, exploiting people's "anxiety, contempt, anger and frustration", said Pope Francis.
The document was issued at a time when what role false news reports may have played in the 2016 election win of US President Donald Trump is continuing to be examined.
On social media, messages have been spread falsely quoting Pope Francis, such as 'Don't only live for children, ' 'The firstone to forget is the happiest, ' and one even stating the pope had changed the 10 Commandments.
The pontiff was also critical of "fake news" in December, when he told reporters at the Vatican to avoid "sins of communication". The Bible story shows that "there is no such thing as harmless disinformation; on the contrary, trusting in falsehood can have dire consequences".
The document was issued in relation to the Vatican's World Communications Day on 13 May. He encouraged efforts to develop regulations to counter fake news and he praised tech and media companies for trying to improve ways to verify "the personal identities concealed behind millions of digital profiles".
The document also did not delve into the allegations against Russian Federation for hacking elections in the USA and possibly other countries like Germany and France, through the creation and promotion of false news reports on various social media channels. "It leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred", the Pope was quoted as saying.
Juan Carlos Cruz, the most vocal of the accusers against Karadima and Barros who testified in court about the cover-up, responded with a statement to The Associated Press: "If he wanted evidence, why didn't he reach out to us when we were willing to reaffirm the testimony that not only us, but so many witnesses, have been providing for more than 15 years?"
"If responsibility is the answer to the spread of fake news, then a weighty responsibility rests on the shoulders of those whose job is to provide information, namely, journalists, the protectors of news", he wrote.
The Pope's latest message on World Communication Day is "Peace is the true news".
"Journalists should make it their mission to seek truth and resist â€˜sensational headlines", he says.
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