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27 May, 2024
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When journalism takes precedence over the news

'In tragic events involving human casualties, it is inadmissible in every way for the media to take precedence over authorized state agencies.'

Apostolis Tomaras

Apostolis Tomaras

Long-standing Cypriot journalism dysfunctions have come to light as a result of the Primate of the Church's declining health, and they can in no way be excused under the guise of informing the public. The archbishop is still engaged in his own struggle on the first floor of the archbishop's palace, as it has in other instances when "tomb raiding" phenomena have been observed. Since the church crisis in 2000, I have kept up with ecclesiastical reporting, and I have difficulty understanding how publications about the church's future serve to inform citizens who profess faith at this time.

Someone who is "real" may argue that journalists are acting in the name of information and thus cannot self-censor. Those who work in journalism are not, of course, disconnected and alienated from society. They often live and feel the pulse of society more than the average citizen. They are confronted with the facts, no matter how tragic they may be. I will never forget some of my colleagues who have bowed down in the face of tragedy in the line of duty. On the other hand, there are instances when journalism demonstrates its worst side: a lack of sensitivity, humanity, and empathy for human suffering.

The journalistic succession scenarios for the Archbishop since last Monday, when his health began to decline, are disrespectful—not to the Hierarch personally, but to the image he represents. Until he "departs from this earth," the Archbishop will preside over the island's Orthodox Christians. Everyone should respect his condition until that time. Succession plans and even the current emergence of polls cannot be used as weapons in the daily media war. The assertion that other hierarchical delphiniums support the scenario is not a convincing argument.  Whatever is said, a journalist is not a bearer of unofficial opinions, and the late Tassos Papadopoulos was absolutely correct when he spoke of journalists-manifesto writers. Even if the information cannot be challenged, the journalist must 'self-censor' himself in terms of when the news is published.

In tragic events involving human casualties, it is inadmissible in every way for the media to take precedence over authorized state agencies. Journalists have a duty to put the breaks on if there are hierarchs with unbridled ambition. Our prayers and thoughts are with the Archbishop as he fights the battle of his life. 

[This article was translated from its Greek original]


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