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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis condemns fake news, calls reliable information a “human right”

Pope Francis met with members of the International Catholic Media Consortium, known as “Catholic Fact Checking,” composed of scientists, theologians, and experts in bioethics, to address the role of fighting misinformation in beating the pandemic. 

-With the Holy See and the bishops' conferences, most Holy Father, you have reminded us of the stakes of vaccination not only with regard to our own lives, but in considering each person's responsibility to the lives of others.

The Pope noted that the obstacles to accessing reliable information on COVID-19 has created a parallel pandemic of misinformation. 

"We cannot hide that in these times, in addition to the pandemic, the "infodemic" is spreading, that is, the distortion of reality based on fear, which in the global society bombards us with echoes and comments on false, if not made up, news. Let us work for the correct and truthful information about COVID-19 and vaccines."

He went on to stress the need for all people to have access to trustworthy information backed by science without being surrounded by fake news.

"To be properly informed, to be helped in understanding on the basis of scientific data and not on fake news, is a human right. Correct information must be guaranteed especially to those who have less means, to the weakest, to the most vulnerable."

Pope Francis also asked the media to be attentive to prioritizing getting more clicks rather than informing the public. 

"The search for truth cannot be bent to a commercial end, to the interests of the powerful, to great economic interests. No. Being together for the truth also means looking for an antidote to algorithms designed to maximize commercial profitability, it means promoting an informed society, a just, healthy and sustainable society."

“Catholic Fact Checking” was created during the pandemic to raise awareness of the science behind COVID-19 vaccines, and the misinformation surrounding them in the Catholic community, an issue which has been a priority for Pope Francis since the start of the pandemic.