The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) reminded the faithful that spreading alternative facts, fake news, or false information is "a sin against charity."
In a Pastoral Exhortation against Fake News posted on Wednesday at the CBCP website, the bishops underscored that "the Christian cannot be part of falsehood, deceit and lies."
"The active involvement of citizens in creating a nurturing society steeped in justice depends on the truth. That is the service to which media is called. That is why we have schools and colleges and universities. That is why teaching is a noble profession. That is why books and magazines, journals, and articles are published," the bishops said.
They added that fake news can actually lead a person to making wrong decisions in life.
The bishops also took note how "crucial decisions — personal and social — depend on the accurate grasp of facts."
They added that spreading false information is considered a "sin against charity" because these hinder persons from making right and sound decisions.
The document, which was signed by CBCP President and Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, is also a reminder for Catholics of their obligation to stop the spread of alternative facts or fake news:
- Refrain from patronizing, popularizing and supporting identified sources of “alternative facts” or “fake news."
- Rebut and refute falsehood whenever they are in possession of facts and of data.
- Refuse to be themselves purveyors of fake news and to desist from disseminating this whether on social media or by word of mouth or through any other form of public expression.
- Identify the sources of fake news so that our brothers and sisters may be duly alerted and may know which media and which sites to shun.
— BAP, GMA News