Pope Francis announced that fake news will be the theme for World Communications Day 2018 on Thursday, advocating Journalism for Peace as a solution to harmful, false narratives.
Francis broke precedent by announcing the theme for the Church-sponsored World Communications Day on Twitter, for the first time in the history of the event, according to Crux Now. The church will focus its efforts to combat “baseless information” and the “distortion of facts” that perpetrate fake news and contribute to an increasingly polarized social, political, and religious landscape, according to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications.
“In a context in which the key companies of the social web and the world of institutions and politics have started to confront this phenomenon, the Church too wishes to offer a contribution, proposing a reflection on the causes, the logic and the consequences of disinformation in the media, and helping to promote professional journalism, which always seeks the truth, and therefore a journalism of peace that promotes understanding between people,” the Vatican’s statement reads.
I have chosen this theme for World Communications Day 2018: “The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32). Fake news and journalism for peace.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) September 29, 2017
Francis will deliver the actual World Communications Day address Jan. 24, the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists, in keeping with tradition. The announcement of the theme also traditionally comes Sep. 29 of the preceding year, which is the feast day of Archangels Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel, who has been made the patron saint of telecommunications.
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