Social Teachings of the Catholic Church
: Communications Media
"Society has a right to information based on truth, freedom, and justice." Mass media is a very important part of modern society. The contents of the media must be true and complete - "within the bounds set by charity and the common good." Journalists should respect the bounds of truth and critical judgement. "They should not stoop to defamation."
Government has a very strong responsibility in this area. It must "safeguard a true and just freedom of information", and must punish any violation of a person's reputation and right to privacy. The government must never spread disinformation, or manipulate public opinion.
"Moral judgment must condemn the plague of totalitarian states which systematically falsify the truth, exercise political control of opinion through the media, manipulate defendants and witnesses at public trials, and imagine that they secure their tyranny by strangling and repressing everything they consider 'thought crimes.'"
Condensed from the Catechism of the Catholic Church