Why Use Unnamed Sources? Asks Vatican Official

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 21, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications questioned why newspapers use unnamed Vatican sources when reporting on the Holy See.

“If a person expresses his view, his first and last names should appear,” Archbishop John Foley said. “If this is not done and anonymity is requested, I think he either is afraid or wants to manipulate the journalist.”

The prelate expressed this conviction today at a press conference when he presented John Paul II’s new apostolic letter on the media, “The Rapid Development.” The document is addressed to those in charge of social communications.

The American archbishop said he favored “fluid” communication between the Church and the media, and was perplexed when newspapers quote “an authoritative Vatican source” without naming names.

For his part, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Bishop Renato Boccardo, answered a journalist who asked him if the Vatican took the hint from the Pope’s words to “not be afraid of the media.”

“The Pope writes that communication calls for transparency,” he said, “and the invitation is for all, for those who are within and those who are outside.”

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