Pope Francis said Thursday that journalists who fear-monger about refugees are engaging in a form of “terrorism.”
Francis was addressing a meeting of leaders from the Italian journalist guild, where he urged them to relentlessly pursue the truth. Printing rumors, he said, was a form of “terrorism, of how you can kill a person with your tongue.”
“[If gossip is bad] 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,” he added.
Francis also warned that malicious reporting could be “a weapon of destruction against persons and even entire peoples.” (RELATED: Pope Says Fighting Terrorism ‘Not A Religious War’)
“I understand that in today’s journalism, with an uninterrupted flux of facts and events told 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it’s not always easy to get to the truth, or even to get close to it,” Francis said. “[But] even in journalism, it’s necessary to discern between the shades of gray of the events being told.”
Italian newspapers are known for being partisan and hyperbolic. After last year’s Paris attacks that killed 130 people, one newspaper ran the headline “Islamic Bastards.”
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