Academia Ignores Need for Media Education, Says Archbishop Foley

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 14, 2003 ( Media education is essential in today’s society, says a Vatican official who perceives opposition to the idea from key sectors.

“I must admit that I have found opposition from two sources: the academic community and media executives,” Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said at a seminar on “Media Education: World Experiences.”

The seminary, organized by the International Catholic Union of the Press, was held today at the Free University of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven, in Rome.

“Academics object because many of them don’t consider media as serious,” the archbishop lamented.

“How they can overlook the profound influence that media have on youth … is an attitude I cannot understand,” he said. “Teachers can and should help young people to be critical and intelligent consumers of the media.”

He added: “Media executives object because media education can and should make people critical, and I sometimes think that some media executives prefer couch potatoes — those who watch entertainment and perhaps news programming without a critical eye — and then buy most of the things that are advertised.”

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