News by email Donate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

POPE COVID banner.JPG
POPE COVID.JPG
Reuters
World News

Pope says fake news and disinformation on Covid are human rights violations

by Reuters Journalist

Pope Francis said on Friday that spreading fake news and disinformation on covid-19 and vaccines, including by Catholic media, is a violation of human rights.

It was the second time in less than month that the 85-year-old pope has spoken out on the subject. Three weeks ago, he condemned as "baseless" ideological misinformation about vaccines, backing national immunisation campaigns and calling healthcare a "moral obligation".

Francis made his comments in an address to members of catholicfactchecking.com, a consortium of Catholic media whose website says its aim is to "clarify fake news and misleading information" about vaccines against covid.

"To be properly informed, to be helped to understand situations based on scientific data and not fake news, is a human right," the pope told the group. "Correct information must be ensured above all to those who are less equipped, to the weakest and to those who are most vulnerable."

Francis decried a spreading "infodemic," which he said was a distortion of reality based on fear, falsified or invented news and "allegedly scientific information".

Believers of fake news should not be placed in "ghettos" but attempts should be made to try to win them over to the scientific truth.

"Fake news has to be refuted, but individual persons must always be respected, for they believe it often without full awareness or responsibility," Francis said. 

It was significant that the pope made the address to a Catholic media group. Some right-wing Catholic outlets, blogs and websites have been shut down by social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter for spreading covid disinformation. Many have moved to other platforms.

Some right-wing Catholic media regularly host Francis' most severe critics, such as Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, an Italian who has been in hiding for nearly three years since issuing a statement against Francis demanding his resignation.

In a letter to followers this month, Vigano said the virus was produced in a lab was part of a global plot "to erase all traces of our identity as Christians".

He has also denied the pandemic exists and has called it the work of Satan.


 

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email

Connect

Donate

Donate