Pope's communications day theme: Truth in age of 'fake news'

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Given the strong divisions sparked
and fueled by “fake news,” Pope Francis is highlighting the
importance of truth in his message for World Communications Day.

The message will call for studying the causes and
consequences of baseless information and will promote “professional
journalism,” which always seeks the truth and therefore peace and understanding
in the world, the Vatican
Secretariat for Communication said, announcing the theme.

“‘The truth will set you free’: Fake news and
journalism for peace” will be the theme of the church’s celebration of
World Communications Day 2018. The day’s theme is announced every year on Sept.
29, the feast of the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

The theme Pope Francis chose “relates to so-called
‘fake news’ — namely baseless information that contributes to generating and
nurturing a strong polarization of opinions,” the announcement said. “It
involves an often misleading distortion of facts, with possible repercussions
at the level of individual and collective behavior.”

With so many key players in the world of social media, internet and politics beginning to face the phenomenon, it said, “the
church, too, wishes to offer a contribution.”

The pope’s
message for the day will propose “a reflection on the causes, the
logic and the consequences of disinformation in the media,” and it will try to help
“promote professional journalism, which always seeks the truth, and
therefore a journalism of peace that promotes understanding between people.”

Most dioceses will celebrate World Communications Day 2018
on May 13, the Sunday before Pentecost. The Vatican will release the pope’s
message for the observance Jan. 24, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron
of journalists.

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