Information Technologies Must Be at Service of Peace, Says Holy See

3 Moral Principles Outlined at Geneva Summit

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GENEVA, DEC. 14, 2003 (Zenit.org).- At the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, the Holy See illustrated the principles for information and communications technologies to become instruments of peace.



The principles were articulated by Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and head of the Holy See delegation to the meeting, held in Geneva from Dec. 10-12 under the patronage of the U.N. secretary-general and organized by the International Telecommunications Union.

Referring to information and communications technologies, Archbishop Foley said: "My delegation is particularly interested in the role of media and ICTs in the preservation and construction of peace."

"In these days, we cannot build a lasting peace without the cooperation of media networks," he said. "They can serve the culture of dialogue, participation, solidarity and reconciliation without which peace cannot flourish."

"Instead of featuring violence, immorality and superficiality," the media "could foster a more open and respectful use of ICTs to build better reciprocal knowledge and respect and to foster reconciliation and a more fruitful relationship among peoples of different cultures, ideologies and religions," the papal representative noted.

"Technology is a means," the U.S. prelate continued. "We are responsible for using it so that, in this communication age, the search for truth and true freedom might be advanced among all peoples."

In this connection, Archbishop Foley said that there are "three basic moral foundations of communication: the overriding importance of truth, the dignity of the human person, and the promotion of the common good."

These principles explain the need for a commitment to make the new technologies accessible to all persons and societies, he added.

Archbishop Foley applauded the agreement reached on the "Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society," in Nos. 56-59, in the conference's Declaration of Principles.

The document condemns "abusive uses of ICTs, such as illegal and other acts motivated by racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, hatred, violence, all forms of child abuse, including pedophilia and child pornography, and trafficking in, and exploitation of human beings."

See www.itu.int/wsis.