By staff reporter
POPE Francis says journalism should be a humble and free practice concerned with offering healthy bread of truth and goodness, unlike selling the “rotten food of misinformation.”
Addressing about 400 journalists of the Foreign Press Association (FPA) of Italy on Saturday, Pope Francis urged for a humble and free journalism.
The pontiff encouraged journalists to work according to truth and justice.
With truth and justice, the Pope believes communication will truly be an instrument for building and not for destroying, for meeting and not for clashing and for dialoguing instead of monologising.
“[It should be] for orienting, not for disorienting; for understanding, not for misunderstanding; for walking in peace, not for sowing hatred; for giving a voice to those who have no voice, not for being a megaphone to those who shout louder,” Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis expressed his and the Church’s esteem for their precious work, saying it “contributes to the search for the truth and only the truth makes us free.”
On humility and truth, Pope Francis told journalists that they need to exemplify humility as the fundamental element of their profession.
“At a time when many people are spreading fake news, humility prevents you from selling the rotten food of misinformation and invites you to offer the good bread of truth,” Pope Francis said.
He noted that that the search for the truth entailed many difficulties and much humility.
Pope Francis added that the presumption of already knowing everything blocked the search for the truth.
He cautioned journalists that an article, a tweet or a live report could do good but also evil to others and sometimes to entire communities if one was not careful and scrupulous.
The Pope further reminded journalists that certain “screaming” headlines could create a false representation of reality and therefore urged them to resist the temptation to publish insufficiently verified news.
He said a humble journalist tried to know the facts correctly and completely before telling and commenting on them.
“In a time of too many hostile words, in which saying bad things about others has become a habit for many, along with that of classifying people, we must always remember that each person has his or her intangible dignity, which can never be taken away,” Pope Francis said.
He further stressed that freedom of the press and of expression was an important indicator of the state of health of a country.
He shared the pain of journalists killed while carrying out their work with courage and dedication to report on what many people face during wars and the dramatic situations.
At the end of his talk, Pope Francis gifted each journalist a copy of a book titled Communicating the Good.
The book contains Pope Francis’ talks to various groups of journalists and his messages for World Communications Days.
Pope Francis listened as the FPA president, Patricia Thomas of Associated Press Television, talked about journalists killed, imprisoned, wounded or threatened in their line of work.