Pope warns of growing ‘infodemic’
Speaking in an address to catholicfactchecking.com on Friday, Pope Francis pointed at the level of “baseless” information about the pandemic and inoculation campaigns, while reaffirming his view that healthcare is a moral obligation for all people of faith.
“To be properly informed, to be helped to understand situations based on scientific data and not fake news, is a human right,” the pontiff declared, warning of a growing “infodemic.”
The Pope feared that fake or misleading news and falsified “scientific information” risks exploiting those who are “the weakest” and the “most vulnerable” in society.
Catholicfactchecking.com describes itself as an international media consortium on Covid vaccines, seeking to “clarify fake news and misleading information” about the pandemic, as many questions have been raised within the global religious community.
“Fake news has to be refuted, but individual persons must always be respected, for they believe it often without full awareness or responsibility,” Pope Francis said.
The address from the Pope comes after several Catholic outlets were censored by social media platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, for allegedly pushing ‘Covid disinformation’.
In 2021, religious outlet LifeSiteNews had its social media platforms shut down for breaching policies regarding Covid-19, in a move it blasted as “Big Tech silencing free speech.”
It marks the latest intervention from the Pope into the debate about Covid vaccines and the pandemic, having given his strongest support yet for the jab earlier in January.
In a speech on January 10 to representatives from 183 countries accredited to the Holy See, Pope Francis claimed the Covid vaccine presents “the most reasonable solution for the prevention of the disease.”
Previously, he described getting the vaccine as “an act of love,” while insisting it is safe and effective to do so. The position has been supported by the Vatican’s Covid advisory board, which called receiving the shot a “moral responsibility” for all Catholics.