Holy See Assails Use of Internet for Sexual Tourism

At a World Conference on Communication

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MADRID, Spain, FEB. 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See said Internet is becoming a means to promote sexual tourism and pedophilia, and stressed that the freedom of communication in this field must be guided by ethics.

«There is a type of online information for tourists that increases the diffusion of the disgraceful pedophile market and of so-called sexual tourism,» lamented Monsignor Piero Monni, the Holy See’s delegate to the first World Conference on Communication in the Field of Tourism, held here Jan. 29-30.

The permanent observer of the Holy See at the World Tourism Organization said that one of the great problems of this means of promotion of the sexual abuse of minors is the difficulty to «to identify the authors of such crimes.»

«The freedom inside the Web and inside the entire media system is not an inviolable taboo, because it too, has to confront itself with the necessity of a critical consideration of human values, among which is the respect of human dignity,» he said.

«The role of communications and of communicators,» Monsignor Monni continued, «especially in the field of tourism, cannot evade the consideration of an ethical responsibility, not only because communications carry out a central role in transmitting ethical values, but because the communicators are entrepreneurs and make up part of the business community.»

«At the moment, it seems like technology is not at man’s service any more, but that it is governing man,» he said.

On the contrary, tourism and its means of communication must be «an opportunity for formation of the person,» the monsignor said. «It involves interests and expectations that go way beyond the simple desire of getting away.»

He added that the «tourism industry, for example, presents itself nowadays as the sector potentially the most fit to contribute positively toward the struggle for the reduction of poverty in the so-called Third World countries.»

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