As fake news takes over social media feeds, the country’s Catholic bishops on Wednesday called on the faithful to fight spread of false information and online deception.
For the first time, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a pastoral exhortation against fake news which is “a sin against charity” because it leads the people to wrong decisions.
“Our Catholic faith obliges us to refrain from patronizing, popularizing and supporting identified sources of ‘alternative facts’ or ‘fake news’,” the bishops said.
“Refuse to be themselves purveyors of fake news and to desist from disseminating this whether on social media or by word of mouth or through any other form of public expression,” they said.
Freedom of expression is a bedrock of democracy but its irresponsible exercise, the bishops said, is something that Christians cannot be part of.
“Sadly, we see this happening today,” they said, lamenting that there are people who have given themselves to the service of sharing lies and concealing the truth.
The bishops, who are often victimized by fake news and deceptive memes, stressed that crucial decisions — personal and social — depend on the accurate grasp of facts.
“Alternative facts and fake news engender faulty decisions many times with disastrous long-term consequences to persons and to communities,” they added.
To help stop the spread of “deceit and lies,” they encouraged the faithful “to rebut falsehood whenever they are in possession of facts and of data”.
The bishops also urged the netizens to identify the sources of fake news so that other people may be alerted and be informed which media or sites to shun.
“The active involvement of citizens in creating a nurturing society steeped in justice depends on the truth,” they said. /By Roy Lagarde, Jun 21, 2017/CBCPNews