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Pope: Irresponsible journalism is a form of terrorism

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Journalism based on gossip or rumors is a form of “terrorism” and media that stereotype entire populations or foment fear of migrants are acting destructively, Pope Francis said on Thursday.

Francis, who made his comments in an address to leaders of Italy’s national journalists’ guild, said reporters had to go the extra mile to seek the truth, particularly in an age 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.”

Francis, who has often strongly defended the rights of refugees and migrants, said journalism should not be used as a “weapon of destruction against persons and even entire peoples”. “Neither should it foment fear before events like forced migration from war or from hunger,” he added.