“THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE” (JN 8:32) FAKE NEWS AND JOURNALISM FOR PEACE

“THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE” (JN 8:32) FAKE NEWS AND JOURNALISM FOR PEACE

“’The truth will set you free’ (JN 8:32). Fake news and journalism for peace” is the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the 2018 World Day of Social Communications.

The text of the Holy Father’s Message for the World Day of Social Communications is traditionally published on the January 24 feast day of Saint Francis de Sales, patron of journalists.

A statement from the Secretariat for Communications notes that the theme chosen for the 52nd World Day of Social Communications 2018 relates to so-called “fake news,” namely, baseless information that contributes to generating and nurturing a strong polarisation of opinions. It involves an often misleading distortion of facts, with possible repercussions at the level of individual and collective behaviour.

In a context in which the key companies of the social web and the world of institutions and politics have started to confront this phenomenon, the Church too wishes to offer a contribution, proposing a reflection on the causes, the logic and the consequences of disinformation in the media, and helping to promote professional journalism, which always seeks the truth, and therefore a journalism of peace that promotes understanding between people.

World Day of Social Communications, the only world day established by Vatican Council II (“Inter Mirifica”, 1963), is celebrated in many countries, by recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday preceding Pentecost (in 2018, 13 May).