UOC hierarch urges journalists to speak the truth and not sow discord

Metropolitan Luke (Kovalenko) of Zaporizhzhia and Melitopol. Photo: religionpravda.com.ua

Mass media can fulfill the role of both a unifier and peacemaker and a provocateur and instigator of hostility and hatred in society, said Metropolitan Luke.

Metropolitan Luke (Kovalenko) of Zaporizhzhia and Melitopol congratulated journalists on their professional holiday, which is celebrated in Ukraine on June 6, urging them to speak the truth and resist the temptation of slander and condemnation. The congratulation of the hierarch is published on the website of the Zaporizhzhia Eparchy of the UOC.

“The life of our contemporaries is characterized by strong integration into the information space and communication infrastructure,” said the UOC hierarchy. “Thanks to the development of technology, a person can ride the news wave at minimal cost – just pick up your mobile phone and you can access news, analytics, and expert opinions on the most pressing issues from any corner of the globe. Today, new formats and genres of journalism are born and are gaining immense popularity – video blogs, groups on social networks, thematic channels on messengers.”

At the same time, he noted, the media can play various socio-political roles – "as a unifier, educator and peacemaker in society, as well as a destroyer, provocateur, instigator of hostility and hatred".

“Unfortunately, current trends indicate that journalism can easily turn into a tool to manipulate the human mind,” the metropolitan added. “In a new reality, when a flurry of news reports falls on the consumer of information, when he/she has no time to double-check their accuracy, ‘fake’ news is increasingly used. The technologies for its creation are diverse, but, as a rule, with a competent approach, you can spot the fake. The problem is that the modern person, burdened in everyday life by various worries, does not have enough time to analyze the information received – where is the truth in it and where is the fiction.”

According to the hierarch, today the information war is waged against Christianity – against the foundations of the faith itself, against the Church and its representatives.

“What should be a journalist’s weapon in such a war? It is important not to adopt unfair practices. Touching upon acute problems, one must try to evade the temptation to denigrate and condemn; not to sow discord between pastors and believers on one side and the secular world – on the other side, between faith and science, between the Church and the state. We should remember the words of the Lord, which can be attributed to journalism: “Everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words, you will be condemned” (Matthew 12. 36–37)," he stressed.

In conclusion, Metropolitan Luke thanked those journalists and the media who, despite censorship and pressure, continue to objectively inform society and protect freedom of speech.

“I am absolutely convinced that the country needs to know the truth about the actions and intentions of the authorities, about the consequences of the decisions of government officials. I am sure that the country should also know that we are not silently observing the actions of today's officials, but are adequately responding to them. And only you can speak the words of truth. I believe in your support since without it a happy and strong country cannot be built,” resumed Metropolitan Luke of Zaporizhzhia and Melitopol.

Earlier, the UOC hierarch called on the Verkhovna Rada to introduce responsibility for the publication of provocations.

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