Pope Francis says freedom of the press important for country’s health

Pope Francis addressed the Foreign Press Association at the Vatican on Saturday, urging journalists to reject fake news and continue reporting on the troubling conditions of suffering people who no longer make it into daily headlines.

The association’s president, Patricia Thomas of Associated Press Television, talked about journalists killed, imprisoned, wounded or threatened in their line of work including Lyra Mckee, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

“Freedom of the press and of expression is an important indicator of the state of a country’s health,” the pope said. “Let’s not forget that one of the first things dictatorships do is remove freedom of the press or mask it, not leaving it free.”

Francis urged the media to not lose interest in tragedies even when they no longer make headlines and mentioned by name the suffering of the Rohingya who he said: “have been forgotten and continue to suffer.”