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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis rebuked journalists that report old scandals and sensationalize the news, calling it “a very serious sin” that hurts the involved parties, CBS News reported, citing an Associated Press story.
On the eve of his 81st birthday Saturday, the pontiff said journalists should remember to provide precise, complete and correct information while avoiding one-sided reports.
Francis told Catholic media on Saturday that journalists perform a mission that is among the most “fundamental” to democratic societies.
“You shouldn't fall into the ‘sins of communication’: disinformation, or giving just one side, calumny that is sensationalized, or defamation, looking for things that are old news and have been dealt with and bringing them to light today,” he said.
He called those actions a "grave sin that hurts the heart of the journalist and hurts others."
On Sunday, tens of thousands of people, many of them children, serenaded the pope on his birthday, Reuters reported. Francis meanwhile, appealed for the release of Catholic nuns kidnapped last month in Nigeria.
The crowd sang “Happy Birthday” in Italian as Francis appeared at the window of the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square for his weekly message and blessing.
The first Latin American pope was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires. He was elected the 266th pope on March 13, 2013. He replaced Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned on Feb. 28, 2013.