( dpa ) - Pope Benedict XVI believes the media can help foster world peace, but risk being "transformed into systems aimed at subjecting humanity to agendas dictated by the dominant interests of the day."
The pontiff laid out his views on the media in a message prepared for this year's World Communications Day on May 4 and issued by the Vatican on Thursday.
The internet and other high-tech devices can help broadcast news and boost the work of journalists, without whose contribution it would be difficult to "breathe life into peace dialogues around the globe" and "ensure the free circulation of ideas," Benedict said.
But when communication is used for ideological purposes and for the "aggressive advertising of consumer products" then it can have harmful consequences according to the pontiff.
"Today, communication seems increasingly to claim not simply to represent reality, but to determine it, owing to the power and the force of suggestion that it possesses," Benedict said.
The pontiff also warned against the media becoming the spokesmen for the "true scourges of our time" - economic materialism and ethical relativism.
Heterosexual marriage, the traditional family and the defence of human dignity - recurrent themes in many of Benedict's messages and homilies - needed to be defended rather than undermined by the media, the pontiff said.
Benedict did not specify what measures could be introduced to ensure the media strive to report the "truth," but said many people are thinking more, applying "info-ethics" to the communications industry in the same way as bioethics developed in the wake of new research in medicine.