Life in Christ
—for example, those of political office
holders, soldiers, physicians, and lawyers—or confidential infor
mation given under the seal of secrecy must be kept, save in
exceptional cases where keeping the secret is bound to cause very
grave harm to the one who confided it, to the one who received it
or to a third party, and where the very grave harm can be avoided
only by divulging the truth. Even if not confided under the seal of
secrecy, private information prejudicial to another is not to be
divulged without a grave and proportionate reason.
Everyone should observe an appropriate reserve con
cerning persons’ private lives. Those in charge of communications
should maintain a fair balance between the requirements of the
common good and respect for individual rights. Interference by
the media in the private lives of persons engaged in political or
public activity is to be condemned to the extent that it infringes
upon their privacy and freedom.
Within modern society the communications media play a
major role in information, cultural promotion, and formation. This
role is increasing, as a result of technological progress, the extent
and diversity of the news transmitted, and the influence exercised
on public opinion.
The information provided by the media is at the service of
the common good.
Society has a right to information based on
truth, freedom, justice, and solidarity:
The proper exercise of this right demands that the content
of the communication be true and—within the limits set by
justice and charity—complete. Further, it should be commu
nicated honestly and properly. This means that in the gath
ering and in the publication of news, the moral law and the
legitimate rights and dignity of man should be upheld.
5 § 2.