VATICAN CITY, FEB 25, 1997 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council for Social Communications today published a document entitled "Ethics in Advertising," a pamphlet-sized reflection prepared over a three-year period following extensive consultation with council members, other curial departments and advertising agencies.

It appears in Italian, French, English, German, Spanish and Portuguese.

"We wish to call attention," says the first chapter, "to positive contributions that advertising can and does make; to note ethical and moral problems that advertising can and does raise; to point to moral principles that apply to this field; and, finally, to suggest certain steps for the consideration of those professionally involved in advertising, as well as for others in the private sector, including the churches, and for public officials."

The council writes that it decided to address these matters because "advertising has a profound impact on how people understand life, the world and themselves, especially in regard to their values and their ways of choosing and behaving. These are matters about which the Church is and must be deeply and sincerely concerned."

"We disagree," affirms the document in Chapter One, "with the assertion that advertising simply mirrors the attitudes and values of the surrounding culture. No doubt advertising, like the media of social communications in general, does act as a mirror. But, also like he media in general, it is a mirror that helps shape the reality it reflects, and sometimes it presents a distorted image of reality."

Chapter Two looks at the economic benefits of advertising (information about new or improved products or services, stimulation of responsible competition, creation of new jobs, higher income, etc.), the political benefits (information about candidates and issues), and the cultural ones (betterment of society by uplifting and inspiring people).

Chapter Three studies the potential harm done by advertising: economic harm (economic pressure on media, excessive "consumerism," neglect of the poor and weak); harms of political advertising (possible distortion, excessive cost, over-dependence on special interests); cultural harm (lack of respect for local cultures, possible stereotyping of minorities and women) and potential moral and religious harm (appeals to envy, greed and lust, flippant treatment of religion, promoting products offensive to some moral norms).

"Some Ethical and Moral Principles" is the title of Chapter Four, which reflects on "Truthfulness in Advertising", "The Dignity of the Human Person" and "Advertising and Social Responsibility."

The fifth chapter is entitled "Conclusion: Some Steps to Take." It points to the need for voluntary ethical codes, to the importance of public involvement and to the role of public authorities. It states: "In light of this insight, it is important that media education be part of pastoral planning and a variety of pastoral and educational programs carried on by the Church, including Catholic schools."

av Webmaster publisert 31.03.2006, sist endret 10.03.2011 - 02:47