VATICAN CITY Jan 24 Pope Benedict called on the
media on Thursday to practise "info-ethics", saying it was often
used irresponsibly to spread violence and impose "distorted
models" of life.
In his message for the Catholic Church's World
Communications Day, Benedict said that while the media did much
good, it was also often used for ideological reasons and tried
to create reality rather than report it.
"When communication loses its ethical underpinning and
eludes society's control, it ends up no longer taking into
account the centrality and inviolable dignity of the human
person," he said in the three-page message.
"For this reason it is essential that social communications
should assiduously defend the person and fully respect human
dignity. Many people now think there is a need, in this sphere,
for 'info-ethics', just as we have bioethics in the field of
medicine and in scientific research linked to life," he said.
The media, he said, often risked being transformed into what
he called "systems aimed at subjecting humanity to agendas
dictated by the dominant interests of the day".
Under Benedict and his predecessor John Paul, the Vatican
has often accused the media of promoting consumerism and
elements of lifestyles that it considers unethical, such as
pre-marital sex and homosexuality.
"While claiming to represent reality, it can tend to
legitimise or impose distorted models of personal, family or
social life," Benedict said.
"Moreover, in order to attract listeners and increase the
size of audiences, it does not hesitate at times to have
recourse to vulgarity and violence, and to overstep the mark,"
Proper use of the media, including the Internet, was
emerging as a key challenge of the third millennium, he said.
The Church marks its World Communications Day on May 4.