01/24/2006, 00.00
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Pope: The media a round table for a dialogue of humanity

The message for World Day of Social Communications highlights the responsibility of the media, particularly internet , in the cultural  formation of young people.  It warns against becoming an industry that emphasis profit and urges greater safeguards for marriage and the family.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The mass media is a "great round table" for a dialogue of humanity, therefore it should also be "responsible", "a protagonist of the truth and promoter of the peace and accord from which it is derived"; this does not happen when "the media industry becomes wholly self-serving or solely profit-driven" and when it offers, above all to the young, a "monoculture" which "marginalizes spiritual values", offering instead "degrading or false expressions of love which ridicule human dignity as gifted by God to each individual, thus threatening the best interests of the family". 

Benedict XVI's first message published today for the 40th World Day for Social Communications is entitled : "The Media: A Network for Communication, Communion and Cooperation", 40 years on from the Vatican II document Inter mirifica, dedicated to the field of social communications.

In the document the Pope underlines the "great challenges", managing these means of communications brings. "The incisive impact- he observes – that the electronic media have in generating new languages and images and the ease with which they introduce them to society is not to be undervalued", because even if "different means of social communication facilitate the exchange of information and ideas, thus contributing to mutual comprehension between diverse groups,  at the same time, they can be contaminated by ambiguity".

Benedict XVI affirms that for this reason "an accurate recounting of events must always be guaranteed, a complete explanation of the topics which interest the general public, an honest presentation of  all points of view".  To this ends the message emphasises one theme above all others "the necessity to support and sustain married life and the family", because "they are the foundation on which each culture and society is built".

Formation in the responsible and critical use of the mass media,  participation in them, and awareness within the media of its power to be a force for dialogue and cultural exchange are the three points that the message specifies, following on from indications already set out by John Paul II. 

"Formation in the responsible and critical use of the media- writes Benedict XVI -  helps people to use them intelligently and appropriately. The profound impact upon the mind of new vocabulary and of images, which the electronic media in particular so easily introduce into society, cannot be overestimated. Precisely because contemporary media shape popular culture, they themselves must overcome any temptation to manipulate, especially the young, and instead pursue the desire to form and serve. In this way they protect rather than erode the fabric of a civil society worthy of the human person.".

"Participation in the mass media arises from their nature as a good destined for all people. As a public service, social communication requires a spirit of cooperation and co-responsibility with vigorous accountability of the use of public resources and the performance of roles of public trust (cf. Ethics in Communications, 20), including recourse to regulatory standards and other measures or structures designed to effect this goal".

"Finally, the promotion of dialogue through the exchange of learning, the expression of solidarity and the espousal of peace presents a great opportunity for the mass media which must be recognized and exercised. In this way they become influential and appreciated resources for building the civilization of love for which all peoples yearn". (FP)

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