Vatican City: Pope Francis on Wednesday linked fake news to the human desires of greed and thirst for power, and called on journalists to counter the phenomenon.
The Pontiff made his comments in an annual statement released by the Holy See ahead of World Communications Day on May 13, Efe news reported.
“Fake news often goes viral spreading so fast that it is hard to stop, not because of the sense of sharing that inspires the social media, but because it appeals to the insatiable greed so easily aroused in human beings,” the Pope said.
“The economic and manipulative aims that feed misinformation are rooted in a thirst for power, a desire to possess and enjoy,” he added.
The Pope stressed the importance of educating people in being able to “discern, evaluate and understand our deepest desires and inclinations” in order to confront the problem.
He warned that misinformation discredited others and presented them as enemies which led to demonization and proliferation of conflict.
“Fake news is a sign of intolerant and hypersensitive attitudes. It leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred,” the Pope said.
“Amid feeding frenzies and the mad rush for a scoop, they must remember that the heart of information is not the speed with which it is reported or its audience impact, but persons,” the Pope said of journalists.
He advocated what he termed “a journalism of peace”, which he said was “truthful and opposed to falsehoods, rhetorical slogans, and sensational headlines”.