Pope Francis Denounces Fake News

26 January, 2018, 02:38 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • Pope Francis says first instance of 'fake news' was in the Bible in new document about combating it

"In his explanation of the term, Pope Francis said that fake news is based on "non-existent or distorted" data" which, mimicking real news, is meant to manipulate or deceive the reader in order to advance "political decisions" and serve "economic interests".

Pope Francis has criticised fake news, saying it is spawned from the devil and comparing it to the snake in the Garden of Eden.

"The effectiveness of fake news is primarily due to their mimetic nature, ie the ability to appear plausible", he said in a document entitled, 'The truth will make you free'.

The pope reminded reporters on the plane that on the first day of his trip to Chile he had expressed his "pain and shame" for the rape and molestation of children by priests and later met with two victims.

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Pope Francis gives a weekly general audience in St Peter's square, on January 24, 2018 in Vatican.

The document was issued after months of debate on how much fake news may have influenced the 2016 USA presidential campaign and President Donald Trump's election.

The pope has also complained in the past about one-sided reporting of the church which he has referred to as the "sins of the media: disinformation, slander and defamation".

This prompted some of Karadima's victims to hold a press conference where they said it was "offensive and unacceptable to say that we need to provide concrete evidence". In present day, according to the Pope's message the fast digital world helps fuel the spread of "fake news" - which he defines as "the spreading of disinformation on line or in the traditional media".

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He called for "education for truth" that would help people discern, evaluate and understand news in order to recognise the "sly and risky form of seduction that worms its way into the heart with false and alluring arguments".

He never faced criminal prosecution in Chile as too much time had passed, but the judge who heard victims' testimony in a year-long investigation described them as "truthful and reliable".

"Informing others means forming others; it means being in touch with people's lives", he continued.

In a curious coincidence, the pope's message has come out contemporaneously with new studies revealing the depths of mainstream media bias in the United States and elsewhere. A journalist is therefore tasked, he said, with "ensuring the accuracy of sources" and promoting "goodness, generating trust, and opening the way to communion and peace". He decried the use of "falsehoods, rhetorical slogans, and sensational headlines" to suit partisan purposes, and said that conscientious journalists should pursue an "education for truth". A journalism less concentrated on breaking news than on exploring the underlying causes of conflicts, in order to promote deeper understanding and contribute to their resolution by setting in place virtuous processes.

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