Philippine bishops urge faithful to fight fake news
|Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen Dagupan, president of CBCP -AP|
The Catholic bishops of the Philippines are urging their faithful to fight false information and news, especially on the internet and social media, saying it is against charity. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued a pastoral exhortation on Wednesday saying fake news is “a sin against charity” because it leads the people to wrong decisions.
“Our Catholic faith obliges us to refrain from patronizing, popularizing and supporting identified sources of ‘alternative facts’ or ‘fake news’,” the bishops said in the pastoral exhortation entitled, “Consecrate Them In the Truth.” “Refuse to be themselves purveyors of fake news and to desist from disseminating this whether on social media or by word of mouth or through any other form of public expression,” they said in the exhortation signed by CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen Dagupan.
Freedom of expression is a bedrock of democracy but its irresponsible exercise, the bishops said, is something that Christians cannot be part of. “Sadly, we see this happening today,” they said, lamenting that there are people who have given themselves to the service of sharing lies and concealing the truth. "Crucial decisions — personal and social," the bishops explained, "depend on the accurate grasp of facts." "'Alternative facts' and 'fake news' engender faulty decisions many times with disastrous long-term consequences to persons and to communities." To help stop the spread of “deceit and lies,” they encouraged the faithful “to rebut falsehood whenever they are in possession of facts and of data”.
The bishops also urged the netizens to identify the sources of fake news so that other people may be alerted and be informed which media or sites to shun. “The active involvement of citizens in creating a nurturing society steeped in justice depends on the truth,” they said. (Source: CBCPNews)