Pope John Paul
As War Looms, Pope Reminds Media of Duty to Peace
Fri January 24, 2003 11:27 AM ET
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - With the threat of military action looming in the Gulf, Pope John Paul called Friday for journalists to join the frontlines of a peace effort and avoid becoming "agents of propaganda and disinformation."
He urged those who convey the news to "follow the demands of their moral conscience and to resist pressures to 'adapt' the truth to satisfy the demands of wealth or political power."
"The men and women of the media are especially bound to contribute to peace in all parts of the world by breaking down barriers of mistrust," he said in a message for the Roman Catholic Church World Day of Communications.
Last week the 82-year-old pontiff condemned the possibility of war in Iraq, saying it was not inevitable and would be "a defeat for humanity."
U.N. weapons inspectors Monday are to deliver a report on whether Iraq was found in "material breach" of U.N. resolutions, a finding that could trigger war.
Washington says Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and must disclose them and provide evidence it has eliminated past programs or face military action. Iraq says it has no such weapons.
Some traditional U.S. allies, like France and Germany, have expressed alarm over the pace of U.S. military mobilization in the Gulf and argue inspectors should be given more time to hunt for weapons.
While media companies prepare to send correspondents to the Gulf, the Pope said, "it is imperative that the pressures brought to bear on the media to err in such ways be resisted first of all by the men and women of the media themselves, but also by the Church and other concerned groups."
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