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Pope Francis condemns gossipy journalism as a form of terrorism

The pontiff also urged journalists not to stoke fear over migration forced by war or hunger.

Image: Alessandra Tarantino/PA

POPE FRANCIS HAS warned that journalism when based on rumors or innuendo can be a form of terrorism, meaning a “weapon of destruction” of both people and nations.

The pontiff also urged journalists not to stoke fear over phenomena such as migration forced by war or hunger.

“I have often spoken of rumors as ‘terrorism,’ of how you can kill a person with the tongue,” Pope Francis said in an audience with journalists in Rome.

If this is valid for an individual person, in the family or at work, so much more it’s valid for journalists, because their voice can reach everyone, and this is a very powerful weapon.

The pontiff added that the life of a person “unjustly defamed can be destroyed forever.”

Pope Francis was speaking to 400 journalists from the Italian National Council of the Order of Journalists, whom he greeted in turn afterwards.

Vatican PopePope Francis greets bishops at the Vatican on Wednesday.Source: Andrew Medichini/PA

Dictatorship

He spoke about the danger of journalists becoming terrorists by publishing rumors or spreading fear.

“I understand that in today’s journalism, with an uninterrupted flux of facts and events told 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it’s not always easy to get to the truth, or even to get close to it,” Francis said.

Even in journalism, it’s necessary to discern between the shades of gray of the events being told.

“It’s important to always reflect on the fact that, across history, dictatorships – of any orientation or ‘color’ – have always tried to not only undertake the media, but also to impose new rules to the profession.”

Francis also said that professional journalism is a fundamental element of an independent, pluralist society.

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