06/23/2020, 15.04
VATICAN
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Vatican: freedom of expression cannot justify discrimination of a faith

Speaking at the OSCE Human Dimension meeting in 2020, the Holy See delegation reiterated the media's responsibility in providing  "fair and accurate" reports on religious issues. No to intolerance that nowadays is particularly pervasive in the digital world.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "It is unacceptable to hide behind freedom of expression as a justification for discrimination, hostility or violence towards a religion or its members," stated a Holy See delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE, during the second additional meeting on the Human Dimension in 2020. The session was dedicated to the themes of freedom of expression, media and information.

The Holy See reiterated the media’s responsibility in giving "fair and accurate" reports on religious issues, allowing community members to express their opinions and encouraging the development of specific guidelines.

The delegation also expressed its categorical rejection of intolerance which nowadays is particularly pervasive in the digital world. Social networks, in fact, can become harmful tools and vehicles of hate and denigrating messages. To avoid this, Internet service providers and social network services should be encouraged to adopt clear, transparent and non-discriminatory standards which prevent any form or behavior marked by intolerance.

"To advance the truth, freedom, justice and solidarity in society, the media, in any form must be protected - the Vatican delegation said - and the freedom that the international community has recognized must be guaranteed. At the same time, it must be recognized that freedom of expression, like any human right, has responsibilities that cannot be ignored ".

The Holy See above all reaffirmed the ethical foundation of the media in society, centered on the "person and community" purpose and measure of the use of the means of communication for integral human development, because "the media do nothing on their own; they are tools, instruments, used as people choose to use them. "

In conclusion, a reflection on what happened in times of pandemic, where inequalities in access to information have placed even more people in situations of vulnerability and at greater risk of suffering, in particular in societies and contexts of poverty. The digital divide between rich and poor, the Holy See said, could cost lives, especially when crucial information is not timely. Without access to responsible, transparent and up-to-date information, even wider inequalities are created in the midst of already extensive suffering.

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