• Pope Francis hits on newsmakers who base their news on gossip or rumors; calling it a form of ‘terrorism’
  • The pope also said media that stereotype entire populations or foment fear of migrants are acting destructively
  • He made his comments in an address to leaders of Italy’s national journalists’ guild

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis hits on newsmakers who base their news on gossip or rumors, calling it a form of “terrorism”; adding that media which stereotype entire populations or foment fear of migrants are acting destructively.

Barbie Latza Nadeau mentioned in her article for The Daily Beast that the Pope made his comments in an address to leaders of Italy’s national journalists’ guild.

Pope Francis said that reporters should put extra efforts in seeking the truth, particularly now that we are in the era of round-the-clock news coverage.

“Spreading rumors is an example of terrorism, of how you can kill a person with your tongue,” he said.

“This is even more true for journalists because their voice can reach everyone and this is a very powerful weapon,” the Pope added.

An article by Philip Pullella for Reuters mentioned that Pope Francis reminded that journalism should not be used as a “weapon of destruction against persons and even entire peoples”.

The Pope said the statement as he often strongly defend the rights of refugees and migrants.

“Neither should it foment fear before events like forced migration from war or from hunger,” he added.

Reuters said that in Italy, some newspapers are highly politicized and are regularly used to discredit those with differing political views. These newspapers sometimes report unsubstantiated rumors about private lives.

Last year, a newspaper Libero headlined its story on the Paris attacks that killed about 130 people as “Islamic Bastards” while another right-wing newspaper, Il Giornale, headlined a story last year on the chaotic situation in Libya and the risk that militants might sneak into Italy with migrants: “ISIS is coming. Let’s arm ourselves”.