Pope Francis calls for “news communicated with serenity, precision and completeness”

Pope Francis recently addressed Italian journalists:

Your voice, free and responsible, is fundamental for the growth of any society that wishes to be called democratic, so that the continuous exchange of ideas and a profitable debate based on real and correctly reported data can be guaranteed.

In our time, often dominated by the anxiety of speed, by the drive for sensationalism to the detriment of precision and completeness, by the calculated overheating of emotion rather than thoughtful reflection, there is an urgent need for reliable information, with verified data and news, which does not aim to amaze and excite, but rather to make readers develop a healthy critical sense, enabling them to ask themselves appropriate questions and reach justified conclusions.

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There is an urgent need for news communicated with serenity, precision and completeness, with a calm language, so as to favour a fruitful reflection; carefully weighted and clear words, which reject the inflation of allusive, strident and ambiguous speech.

It is important that, methodically and with patience, criteria of judgement and information be offered so that the public is able to understand and discern, and is not stunned and disoriented.

Society also needs the right to information to be scrupulously respected, together with that of the dignity of every single human person involved in the information process, so that no one runs the risk of being damaged in the absence of real and circumstantial indications of responsibility. We must not fall prey to the “sins of communication”: disinformation – that is, giving just one side of the argument – slander, which is sensationalistic, or defamation, looking for outdated and old things, and bringing them to light today; they are very grave sins, which damage the heart of the journalist and harm people. –Pope Francis, “Audience with Members of the Italian Periodical Press Union (USPI) and the Italian Federation of Catholic Weeklies (FISC), 16.12.2017