The Catholic Primate Eamon Martin has paid tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in search of the truth – including Lyra McKee, Veronica Guerin and Martin O’Hagan.
he Archbishop of Armagh also warned of the risks of ‘fake news’ and said that people have a responsibility to be authentic online.
He was speaking today to mark the 55th World Communications Day, which celebrates the achievements of communications media.
“Pope Francis acknowledges in his message the courage and commitment of journalists and other media professionals who often risk their lives helping us to learn the reality of life around the world today.
“They beam onto our mobile devices and into our living rooms the hardships facing countless people around the world, like persecution, oppression, poverty, war and injustice.
“In recent times, they have helped us to see first-hand the way that the Covid19 pandemic has been impacting people not just here at home but also in the poverty-stricken villages of Asia, Latin America and Africa,” he said.
In a video presentation of Pope Francis’ message, Archbishop Martin paid tribute to the Irish journalists who have been killed in the past.
“I’m conscious today of the work of brave journalists here in Ireland like Lyra McKee, Veronica Guerin, and Martin O’Hagan who risked and lost their lives while seeking to uncover and report the truth.
“I think also of the two Spanish journalists who were killed last month in Burkina Faso along with the Irish conservationist, Rory Young,” he added.
Spanish nationals David Beriáin and Robert Fraile were filming a documentary with Mr Young on animal poaching when the three men were killed during an ambush.
Warning of the risk of misinformation, Archbishop Martin said this was all the more reason for people to be responsible online.
“The internet for example brings to our doorsteps events that are happening all over the world and enables us to share them with others.
“Of course there is also the risk of misinformation and fake news. All the more reason, then, for people to be responsible and authentic online, and to be witnesses of the truth.
“Pope Francis reminds us today how the Good News of the Gospel has spread down the centuries through person-to-person, heart-to-heart encounters.
“Every media tool has its value in handing on the faith, but what really impresses others is a personal witness to faith, hope and charity.
“That is the challenge that faces all of us – to communicate our love for Jesus by encountering others, where they are and as they are, and inviting them to ‘Come and See’.
“God bless you in this mission, and may truth guide all those who are working in media and journalism here in Ireland,” Archbishop Martin added.