During this month of October, Pope Francis asks us to pray, "that journalists, in carrying out their work, may always be motivated by respect for truth and a strong sense of ethics."
This prayer intention is more relevant than ever in an age when information is accessed constantly over the Internet and shared with friends through social media. With very little accountability, news is presented to the masses without knowing if it is the truth or not.
In speaking to National Council of the Order of Journalists on September 22, Pope Francis urged journalists to "love the truth, live with professionalism, and respect human dignity."
In particular, Pope Francis challenged journalists to not only "affirm [the truth] but to live it, to witness it with one’s work — to live and work, therefore, with coherence in regard to the words that one uses for a newspaper article or a television service." This means that a journalist should strive for honesty in his/her work, reflecting that same drive for the truth that is already present in his/her day-to-day life. One must first live the truth in order to report it.
Pope Francis further added, "This is the work, we can also say the mission – at the same time difficult and necessary – of the journalist: to come as close as possible to the truth of the facts and never say or write something that one knows, in conscience, is not true."
How needed are these words in today's world!
When searching for the news on the Internet, it is hard to know who is getting the facts right and who is trying to promote a specific agenda. This is why we need to pray for journalists!
Pope Francis concluded the meeting by saying:
"I hope that increasingly and everywhere journalism is an instrument of construction, a factor of common good, an accelerator of processes of reconciliation, which is able to reject the temptation to foment clashes, with a language that blows on the fire of divisions, and, instead, that it foster the culture of encounter. You journalists can remind all every day that there is no conflict that cannot be resolved by women and men of good will."
Let us pray for journalists this month, especially as we conclude another election season. May all journalists strive to report on the truth and retain a strong sense of ethics.