In order to “break the vicious circle of anxiety” threatening the world, Pope Francis is calling on the media to shift their focus away from bad news toward “constructive forms of communication.”
While praising the media for making it possible for countless people to “share news instantly and spread it widely,” on Monday the Pope said it is necessary to “break the vicious circle of anxiety and stem the spiral of fear resulting from a constant focus on ‘bad news’ (wars, terrorism, scandals and all sorts of human failure).”
What is needed, Francis proposed in his yearly message to the communications media, is “an open and creative style of communication that never seeks to glamourize evil but instead to concentrate on solutions and to inspire a positive and responsible approach on the part of its recipients.”
“I ask everyone to offer the people of our time storylines that are at heart ‘good news,’” he said.
The way to do this, the pontiff suggested, is by engaging in “constructive forms of communication that reject prejudice towards others and foster a culture of encounter, helping all of us to view the world around us with realism and trust.”
Francis was quick to insist that such a focus on good news “has nothing to do with spreading misinformation that would ignore the tragedy of human suffering, nor is it about a naive optimism blind to the scandal of evil.”
Rather, he said, it means working to overcome “that feeling of growing discontent and resignation that can at times generate apathy, fear or the idea that evil has no limits.”
Giving a nod to the growing battle over “fake news,” Francis said that news “may be good or bad, true or false” and it is up to the media to provide truth rather than falsehood.
Francis also acknowledged the subjective component of news reporting, noting that a purely objective and unbiased journalism does not exist, since it necessarily entails “the choice of an interpretative lens that can select and gather the most relevant data.”
“Everything depends on the way we look at things, on the lens we use to view them. If we change that lens, reality itself appears different,” he said.
In the case of Christians, the Pope proposed, confidence in the victory of Christ brings about “the conviction that it is possible to recognize and highlight the good news present in every story and in the face of each person.”
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