Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Thursday, 27 May 2021

Media freedom: "Set out in search of the truth, avoid hasty conclusions"

By  Munir Bayouk/ :

His Holiness Pope Francis paid a visit to the Dicastery for Communication on Monday, May 24, on his first-ever visit to the Holy See’s historic Radio station.


During the visit the Pope prayed saying, “Lord, teach us to come out of ourselves, and to set out in search of the truth. Teach us to go and see, teach us to listen, not to cultivate prejudices, not to draw hasty conclusions.…” 


On the other hand, Monsignor Janusz Urbańczyk, the Holy See’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), had earlier addressed a meeting on media freedom.


In his address, he said that “the Holy See considers the freedom of press and media, which should act as an instrument for conveying transparent and factual information, as an essential component to promoting democratic values and more just societies.”  Consequently, the freedom of expression entails responsibilities that can never be ignored.


"Set out in search of the truth"


With the emergence of the media revolution, the sources of information became so innumerable to the point that people become perplexed, confused,  and unable to handle the unprecedented size of information that constantly confuse them and lead them astray. We have thousands or rather millions of media networking sites that carry conflicting pieces of information that perplex people to the point that they come to the conclusion the information they garner drives them rather to naught.


This situation applies to issues relevant to all walks of life involving issues relevant to politics, conflicts, health, economics, labor market, foods and the like. For instance some sites advises people to eat certain kinds of foods in order to maintain good health while other sites advises people to refrain from excessively eating the same kinds of foods citing negative side effects.


What is needed at the moment is that with people inundated with a plethora of information marking the emergence of what is known as "media freedom'', the compliance with honesty and accuracy are necessary should good citizenship, justice, and common living prevail. From this premise, the media should be encouraged to provide a platform for a wide range of views that would allow members of society to exchange ideas and views” for the good of societies.


CCSM issues "the Media Code of Ethics"


In June 18-19, 2019 the Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan held an international conference titled, "Media and Their Role in Defending the Truth” during which an assertion was made on the real and effective role of media outlets, particularly the modern and the socially-interactive ones, in the dissemination of truth and the verification its validity, as well as in defence of the truth particularly at difficult and confusing times.


The highlight of the conference was the launching of "The Media Code of Ethics’’ for the first time in Jordan. The 10-point Media Code of Ethics focus on the proper use of social media networking sites as well as on serving morality and respect for human dignity on the one hand in addition to ensuring the dignity of religions and religious symbols of the other.


The Media Code of Ethics called for the commitment in the field of media to highlighting the bonds of closeness and cordiality among all people, to avoiding whatever incites racial or sectarian strife and whatever triggers schism, to respecting the rights of individuals and families regarding their private affairs and their human dignity, to show sublimity as well as respect for human rights, women, family and childhood. It also called for combating tendentious rumors as well as relying on credibility by referring to reliable sources, since people have the right to know the truth, to respecting dignity of religions and religious symbols, to stay away from distorted and fake news,  as well as supporting efforts that refrain from disseminating hate speeches.


With the sincere views expressed by His Holiness Pope Francis, the Holy See, and the CCSM, it is important to be committed in the field of media to the veracity of reporting whereby fake news could wreak havoc and ruin the future of people and nations.