Pope tells Catholic communicators to develop a critical sense against those who pollute the media
Francis sends a message to the SIGNIS association, set to hold a congress in Seoul next month. In it the pontiff urges participants to help young people sift the truth from falsehoods and include communities that are currently on the margins of the digital world.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis today released a message to SIGNIS, the World Catholic Association for Communication, which will hold its annual world congress in Seoul, South Korea, on 15-18 August, centred on the theme “Peace in the digital world”.
In his statement, published by the Vatican Press Office, the pontiff notes the serious ethical questions raised by digital, above all social media, and the need for proper discernment by communicators. He also welcomes the choice of Seoul as the venue for the meeting.
“As an international association for Catholic communications professionals, it is fitting that you are meeting in South Korea, a land whose history of evangelization shows the power of the printed word and the essential role of the laity in the spread of the Gospel.
“May the story of Saint Andrew Kim and his companions two hundred years ago confirm you in your own efforts to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the language of contemporary communications media.”
On the topic of peace in the digital world, the pontiff highlights the contribution to unity among nations the media provided during the pandemic.
Nevertheless, he also points out how the use of digital media, especially social media, “has 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.”
For Pope Francis, the fight against disinformation must be one of the tasks of Catholic communicators. To this end, he urges them “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.
“I would also encourage you to consider the many communities in our world that remain excluded from the digital space, making digital inclusion a priority of your organizational planning. In doing so, you will be making a significant contribution to the spread of a culture of peace grounded in the truth of the Gospel.”
Lastly, citing the need to listen, which is central to this year’s message for the Day of Social Communications, the pontiff calls on SIGNIS to promote it in the synodal journey that the Church has undertaken.
“It is my hope that, in your communication, you will contribute to this process by assisting the holy and faithful people of God in our commitment to listen to one another, to the Lord’s will and to grow in the awareness that we participate in a communion that precedes and includes us.”