The Pope has announced that journalism based on gossip and rumors is a form of “terrorism.”
Pope Francis also said media outlets that stereotype an entire population or foment fear of migrants is acting destructively, Reuters reported.
This raised some eyebrows on social media, as many took issue with equating the acts of radical murder crazed jihadists with reporters:
Curious if the Pope is aware of the Sharia definition of "terrorism:" Killing of a Muslim without right. https://t.co/xIjb04d0JV
— Benjamin Weingarten (@bhweingarten) September 23, 2016
— Linda Suhler, Ph.D. (@LindaSuhler) September 19, 2016
The Pope made the comments in an address to leaders of Italy’s national journalists’ guild. He added that journalists must go the extra mile to seek the truth, especially in the age of the 24-hour news cycle.
Facilitating the spread of rumors is “how you can kill a person with your tongue,” Francis said, adding that it rang “even more true” for journalists because their voices are a “very powerful weapon” with an ability “reach everyone.”
Several newspapers in Italy are highly politicized and often discredit those with differing political views. They sometimes report unsubstantiated rumors about politicians’ private lives.
Francis also said that journalism should not be used as a “weapon of destruction” against entire peoples or “foment fear” of forced migration from war or hunger. The Pope has strongly defended the rights of refugees and migrants in the past.