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Report truths, do not spread fears, Pope says to journalists

September 22, 2016

Journalists should be motivated by love of the truth, professionalism, and respect for human dignity, Pope Francis said in a September 22 address.

Speaking to members of Italy's Naiotnal Council of the Order of Journalists, the Pope paid tribute to their profession, remarking that journalists "write the first draft of history." He said that although the new social media are cutting steadily into the role that has traditionally been played by newspapers and broadcast outlets, the basic principles of the profession remain unchanged.

Encouraging journalists to be diligent in finding and reporting the truth, the Holy Father cautioned that they should also be conscious of the dignity of their subjects. He repeated his observation that gossip is a form of terrorism. "Journalism cannot be a weapon for the destruction of people or even populations," he said. "Nor must it fuel fears in relation to changes or phenomena such as forced migration due to war or hunger."

Pope Francis informed his audience that he had formally approved the statute for the new Secretariat for Communications. [See today's separate CWN headline story.] This new Vatican office, he said, "will be the natural point of reference for your valuable work" in covering the Holy See. 

 
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