By Antoine Lokongo
THE VATICAN has urged the world's journalists and media owners to place ethics back at the heart of their decisions.
In a document entitled Ethics in Communications, issued on Tuesday, the Holy See pledged its support for media professionals, setting out a series of "ethical principles" which it hoped will assist them in their work.
The Church said the purpose of the 40-page docu
ment was "to reflect upon the means of social communication, so that we might face honestly the most essential questions raised by technological progress: whether the media are used for good or for evil or as a result of this progress, the well being and fulfillment of community members in respect to the common good of each and all are secured". The document, prepared by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, pointed out that rapid technological change was making the media more pervasive and powerful and bringing with it "a real cultural revolution".
"Great good and great evil can come from the use people make of the media. An individual can ascend to heights of human genius and virtue, or plunge to the depth of human degradation, while sitting alone at a key board and screen," it said.
"As consumers, especially parents, are faced with hard choices, the ethical question becomes particularly acute."
A close analysis of the modem media, the document added, showed that it puts trash before trust, profits before people and ratings before righteousness.
Archbishop John Foley, the pontifical council's president, used a news conference to criticise the trend towards monopoly ownership of the media. He said: "Market rules are not moral rules, and all information based simply on economic and political factors without ethics can be immoral".
Ethics and Communication is available on www. vatican.va