In his message for the World Communications Day celebrations, Pope Francis has spoken up about misinformation or “fake news.”
On Saturday, January 23, the Pope reminded everyone about “the risk of misinformation being spread on social media.” It could be remembered that in November last year, Lolo Kiko himself became a victim of fake news after he allegedly ‘liked’ a racy photo of a Brazilian model on Instagram.
“We have known for some time that news and even images can be easily manipulated, for any number of reasons, at times simply for sheer narcissism,” the Pope wrote in his World Communications Day message. (Read: Three My Pope-approved tips for better communication)
“Being critical in this regard is not about demonizing the internet, but is rather an incentive to greater discernment and responsibility for contents both sent and received,” he added.
Expose Fake News
According to Pope Francis, it is everyone’s responsibility to verify the information they see on the internet before sharing it on their social media. (Read: Fake news endangers lives more than COVID-19, and each of us can fix it)
“All of us are responsible for the communications we make, for the information we share, for the control that we can exert over fake news by exposing it,” he said. “All of us are to be witnesses of the truth: to go, to see, and to share.”
In his message, the Pope also pointed out the importance of the internet. He said that it is a powerful communication tool that demands proper use and care from everyone who’s exposed to it. (Read: 3 Instances Where Leni Robredo Stood up to Fake News Attacks)
“Digital technology gives us the possibility of timely first-hand information that is often quite useful,” he said. “We can think of certain emergency situations where the internet was the first to report the news and communicate official notices. It is a powerful tool, which demands that all of us be responsible as users and consumers.”
The pope signed the message last Saturday during the Vigil of the Memorial of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers and journalists. (Read: Prayer for Overcoming Writer’s Block)
World Communications Day
World Communications Day was first celebrated by Pope Paul VI in 1967. This year, it will be observed on Sunday, May 16, with the theme “‘Come and See’ (Jn 1:46) Communicating By Encountering People As They Are.”
Different countries will be celebrating the event together with the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.