VATICAN (Realist English). Pope Francis called for promoting peace in the digital environment, which often becomes a place of “toxicity, hate speech and fake news.” This is stated in his message to the participants of the World Congress of the International Association of Catholic Media SIGNIS, which this year will be held from August 15 to 18 in Seoul.
“The digital media revolution of recent decades has proved to be a powerful means of fostering communion and dialogue within our human family. Indeed, during the months of lockdown due to the pandemic, we saw clearly how digital media could bring us together, not only by disseminating essential information, but also by bridging the loneliness of isolation and, in many cases, uniting whole families and ecclesial communities in prayer and worship,” he said.
The head of the Catholic Church stressed that the use of digital media and social networks poses a number of serious ethical issues that require ” wise and discerning judgment on the part of communicators and all those concerned with the authenticity and quality of human relationships.”
“I encourage you to persevere in these efforts, paying particular attention to the need to assist people, especially young people, to develop a sound critical sense, learning to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, good from evil, and to appreciate the importance of working for justice, social concord, and respect for our common home,” the Pope added.
He noted that sometimes and in some places, media sites have become places of toxicity, hate speech and fake news, calling this a real problem that should be solved through “media education, networking Catholic media and countering lies and misinformation.”
The Bishop of Rome also reminded of many modern communities excluded from the digital space:
“I would also encourage you to consider the many communities in our world that remain excluded from the digital space, making digital inclusion a priority of your organizational planning. In doing so, you will be making a significant contribution to the spread of a culture of peace grounded in the truth of the Gospel”.