As misinformation continues to swirl regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, Pope Francis is calling on journalists, especially Catholic media professionals, to verify the facts they report while adopting a respectful attitude toward those who produce and consume fake news.
Meeting with members of the International Catholic Media Consortium last Friday 28 January, the Pope reflected on the theme of communications and truth.
The consortium – run by Aleteia and I Media, two news websites, and Verificat, a fact-checking agency – set up the “Catholic FactChecking” website in early 2021.
Unmasking fake news
Pope Francis lauded the organization’s goal of seeking to unmask “fake news and partial or misleading information” about Covid-19 vaccines and ethical questions related to them.
The group includes a scientific committee that draws upon the work of experts in epidemiology, theology, and bioethics.
The Pope noted that people are increasingly influenced by mass media and that reporters must therefore employ a rigorous method.
“Communicators must observe facts carefully, check their accuracy, make a critical evaluation of the sources of their information, and finally, pass on their findings. The burden of responsibility is all the greater when, as often happens, the reporter is called upon not only to give the simple facts of a case but also to explain its implications by providing commentary and the elements needed for a fair assessment. (Pope St. Paul VI’s 1972 message for World Communications Day)”
Source: Vatican News article by Devin Watkins