Pope Francis on Friday, September 29 left a section of his 13.7 million Twitter followers confused, when he made known a theme he has chosen for 2018 Catholic Church’s World Communications Day.
“I have chosen this theme for World Communications Day 2018: ‘The truth will set you free’ (John 8: 32). Fake news and journalism for peace,” he tweeted at 1:30pm on Friday, September 29.
Several Twitter followers, who did not understand the second bit of his statement “Fake news and journalism for peace” took to his timeline to seek a clarification, with a user, namely Logansan, posing: “You really need to clarify this. Do you mean to champion fake news, and fake journalism as a means to peace?”
Another Twitter user, Regina Anita, wrote: “Maybe something got lost in translation, coz it (the second part of the tweet) makes no sense.”
Peter Knight said: “Seeing as this is your theme for World Communications Day, you could have made your tweet a little clearer. I don’t get it.”
Jane Maynowski tweeted: “Translation breakdown from native language to English.”
Oriental Lakeside said: “Lost in translation but the sentiment is correct.”
Ann Mcgovern observed: “I think we all know what he means! God bless, pray for peace.”
Dalsy Mercado, an online user, who seemingly understood the dynamics which led to the confusion brought about by the Pontiff’s tweet, clarified: “In the Pope’s Spanish Twitter account, the second bit of his tweet reads ‘Fake news vs. journalism’, factual journalism contributes to peace.’
Mercado’s tweet was reiterated by Mustapha Mugisa’s post. He wrote: “Fake news vs. journalism for peace. If you report what actually happened, without exaggerating a news item, peace shall prevail.”
Every year on the Sunday before Pentecost the Catholic Church celebrates the achievements of the communications media and focuses on how it can best use them to promote gospel values.
World Communications Day was established by Pope Paul VI in 1967 as an annual celebration that encourages the Catholic Church members to reflect on the opportunities and challenges that the modern means of social communication (the press, motions pictures, radio, television and the internet) afford the Church to communicate the gospel message.
The celebration came in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, which realised it must engage fully with the modern world. This realisation is expressed in the opening statement of the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes on “The Church in the Modern World”, which says: “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anguishes of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted in any way, are the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anguishes of the followers of Christ as well.”