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Sunday, January 30, 2022

Pope cautions against ‘Infodemic’ - ITREALMS

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The Catholic pontiff, Pope Francis, has urged media practitioners, especially journalists and scientists to be cautious and build bridges with those who believe misinformation. 
Speaking in audience with some members of the International Catholic Media Consortium on Covid-19 Vaccines, he noted that the world has topped 10 billion vaccine doses but distribution has been unequal.

As said by him, information based on scientific facts is a human right, Pope Francis said Friday, urging Catholic journalists to help people who were misled by false reports about the coronavirus and vaccines.

“To be properly informed, to be helped to understand situations based on scientific data and not fake news, is a human right,” the pope said.

An “infodemic” was spreading, the pope said, calling it “a distortion of reality based on fear, falsified or invented news.”

Journalists and scientists, he added, should treat those who believe in false information with respect and not place them in “ghettos.” Instead, they should try to build bridges to those who need to hear scientific truths.

The pope cited a 1972 message by Pope Paul VI about the sway that the news media had over people’s behaviors and choices, and lauded those who could properly place individual facts in a broader picture by explaining the causes and circumstances of a given situation.

He praised the Catholic consortium of media organizations, fact-checking websites and scientists for combating inaccurate information on vaccines, particularly online.

ITREALMS gathered that the pope has been vocal about the importance of vaccines, citing for instance, last year, he participated in a global ad campaign and called getting vaccinated an “act of love.”

He has also periodically reiterated the importance of the equitable distribution of vaccines around the globe, lamenting the scarcity of health care resources in poor countries.

*Chuks Egbune/DoP with additional reports from New York Times.

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