Monday, May 09, 2005

The Media and Responsibility

Yesterday, in addition to being the Feast of the Ascension in many countries and Mother's Day, was also World Day for Social Communications. Pope Benedict XVI addressed this in his Sunday audience.

The Pope said that in this "era of images," the mass media have enormous influence on public opinion, which can be used for good or ill. The manipulation of the media, he pointed out, can "feed prejudice and disdain among individuals and peoples," fanning the flames of violence. On the other hand, Benedict XVI observed that the heavy coverage of the funeral of Pope John Paul II was an example of how the media can "promote solidarity and understanding in the human family." In assessing the influence of the media, the Pope said, "everything depends on how they are used." He urged media officials to use their power responsibly, to ensure "objectivity, respect for human dignity, and attention to the common good."