Pope Francis said that spreading fake news and disinformation on COVID-19 and vaccines, including by Catholic media, is a violation of human rights, Trend reports citing Al Arabiya.
It was the second time in less than month that the 85-year-old pope has spoken out on the subject. Three weeks ago, he condemned “baseless” ideological misinformation about vaccines, backing national immunization campaigns and calling health care a moral obligation.
Francis made his comments in an address to members of catholicfactchecking.com, a consortium of Catholic media whose says its aim is to “clarify fake news and misleading information” about vaccines against COVID.
“To be properly informed, to be helped to understand situations based on scientific data and not fake news, is a human right,” the pope told the group. “Correct information must be ensured above all to those who are less equipped, to the weakest and to those who are most vulnerable.”
Francis decried a spreading “infodemic,” which he said was a distortion of reality based on fear, falsified or invented news and “allegedly scientific information.”
Believers of fake news should not be placed in “ghettos” but attempts should be made to try to win them over to the scientific truth.
“Fake news has to be refuted, but individual persons must always be respected, for they believe it often without full awareness or responsibility,” Francis said.