View From Rome
03 January 2018
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Thanks to President Donald Trump the term “fake news” looks set to remain the phrase du jour through 2018, while this month Pope Francis is hoping to bring some clarity to the fog of disinformation clouding contemporary media culture. On 24 January, the feast of journalism’s patron saint Francis de Sales, the Pope is due to issue his message for World Communications Day: “The truth will set you free: Fake news and journalism for peace”.
It is an issue the Vatican is increasingly conscious of. On New Year’s Day, a fake Twitter profile was set up in the name of Archbishop Luis Ladaria, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Claiming to be the “official” account of the Vatican’s doctrinal chief it put out a message on 2 January that Benedict XVI had died. A Vatican spokesman dismissed it as a fake account, pointing out a similar one had been set up for Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
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