World Communications Day is on Sunday, May 13 2018.
This annual Communications Day was established by Pope Paul VI in 1967 to encourage Catholics to reflect on the opportunities and challenges that the modern means of social communication offer the Church to communicate the Gospel message.
Ahead of each World Communications Day, the Pope Francis issues a message on a particular theme. See link for full text of his 2018 message: “The truth will set you free’ (Jn 8:32). Fake news and journalism for peace”.
In this message, Pope Francis warns of the “dire consequences” of disinformation spread through fake news, that is fueled by “greed” and the “thirst for power,” and thrives on the absence of a “healthy confrontation” necessary for “constructive dialogue.” In today’s rapidly evolving world of communications, he asks those working in the media to “promote a journalism of peace” that is truthful, and helps to form others, but which is not harmful or sentimental, overlooking serious problems.
Pope Francis on Twitter said: “I invite communications professionals to promote a journalism of peace at the service of all people, especially those without a voice”. #WorldCommunicationsDay
I would like, then, to invite everyone to promote a journalism of peace.
By that, I do not mean the saccharine kind of journalism that refuses to acknowledge the existence of serious problems or smacks of sentimentalism.
On the contrary, I mean a journalism that is truthful and opposed to falsehoods, rhetorical slogans, and sensational headlines.
A journalism created by people for people, one that is at the service of all, especially those – and they are the majority in our world – who have no voice.
A journalism less concentrated on breaking news than on exploring the underlying causes of conflicts, in order to promote deeper understanding and contribute to their resolution by setting in place virtuous processes.
A journalism committed to pointing out alternatives to the escalation of shouting matches and verbal violence.
To this end, drawing inspiration from a Franciscan prayer, Pope Francis suggests that we might turn to the Truth in person:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Help us to recognize the evil latent in a communication that does not build communion.
Help us to remove the venom from our judgements.
Help us to speak about others as our brothers and sisters.
You are faithful and trustworthy; may our words be seeds of goodness for the world:
where there is shouting, let us practise listening;
where there is confusion, let us inspire harmony;
where there is ambiguity, let us bring clarity;
where there is exclusion, let us offer solidarity;
where there is sensationalism, let us use sobriety;
where there is superficiality, let us raise real questions;
where there is prejudice, let us awaken trust;
where there is hostility, let us bring respect;
where there is falsehood, let us bring truth.