11. We are faced with three fundamental options: formation, participation and dialogue.
In the first place, a vast work of formation is needed to assure that the mass media be known and used intelligently and appropriately. The new vocabulary they introduce into society modifies both learning processes and the quality of human relations, so that, without proper formation, these media run the risk of manipulating and heavily conditioning, rather than serving people. This is especially true for young people, who show a natural propensity towards technological innovations, and as such are in even greater need of education in the responsible and critical use of the media.
In the second place, I would like to recall our attention to the subject of media access, and of co-responsible participation in their administration. If the communications media are a good destined for all humanity, then ever-new means must be found
—including recourse to opportune legislative measures —to make possible a true participation in their management by all. The culture of co-responsibility must be nurtured.
Finally, there cannot be forgotten the great possibilities of mass media in promoting dialogue, becoming vehicles for reciprocal knowledge, of solidarity and of peace. They become a powerful resource for good if used to foster understanding between peoples; a destructive ?weapon? if used to foster injustice and conflicts. My venerable predecessor, Blessed John XXIII, already prophetically warned humanity of such potential risks in the Encyclical, Pacem in Terris. —The Rapid Development [of technology in the area of the media…] (Vatican)
This is one of the last documents produced by Pope John Paul II, honoring the January 24 feast of Saint Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists.
My dean sent me this link, via a news story on The Business of Television. I’m just about to introduce a new unit on “globalism” to my freshman comp class, so this seems like a great entry point.