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598

Part Three

2495

“It is necessary that all members of society meet the demands of

justice and charity in this domain. They should help, through the means of

social communication, in the formation and diffusion of sound public

opinion.”

287

Solidarity is a consequence of genuine and right communi­

cation and the free circulation of ideas that further knowledge and respect

for others.

2496

The means of social communication (especially the mass media)

can give rise to a certain passivity among users, making them less than

vigilant consumers of what is said or shown. Users should practice mod­

eration and discipline in their approach to the mass media. They will want

to form enlightened and correct consciences the more easily to resist un­

wholesome influences.

2497

By the very nature of their profession, journalists have an oblig­

ation to serve the truth and not offend against charity in disseminating

information. They should strive to respect, with equal care, the nature of

the facts and the limits of critical judgment concerning individuals. They

should not stoop to defamation.

2498

“Civil authorities

have particular responsibilities in this field

because of the common good. . . . It is for the civil authority . . . to defend

and safeguard a true and just freedom of information.”

288

By promulgating

laws and overseeing their application, public authorities should ensure

that “public morality and social progress are not gravely endangered”

through misuse of the media.

289

Civil authorities should punish any

violation of the rights of individuals to their reputation and privacy. They

should give timely and reliable reports concerning the general good or re­

spond to the well-founded concerns of the people. Nothing can justify re­

course to disinformation for manipulating public opinion through the

media. Interventions by public authority should avoid injuring the free­

dom of individuals or groups.

2499

Moral judgment must condemn the plague of totalitarian states

which systematically falsify the truth, exercise political control of opinion

through the media, manipulate defendants and witnesses at public trials,

and imagine that they secure their tyranny by strangling and repressing

everything they consider “thought crimes.”

287

IM

8.

288

IM

12.

289

IM

12 § 2.

906

2525

2237

2286

1903