Catechism of the Catholic Church

Life in Christ 597 2491 Professional secrets —for example, those of political office holders, soldiers, physicians, and lawyers—or confidential infor­ mation given under the seal of secrecy must be kept, save in exceptional cases where keeping the secret is bound to cause very grave harm to the one who confided it, to the one who received it or to a third party, and where the very grave harm can be avoided only by divulging the truth. Even if not confided under the seal of secrecy, private information prejudicial to another is not to be divulged without a grave and proportionate reason. 2492 Everyone should observe an appropriate reserve con­ cerning persons’ private lives. Those in charge of communications should maintain a fair balance between the requirements of the common good and respect for individual rights. Interference by the media in the private lives of persons engaged in political or public activity is to be condemned to the extent that it infringes upon their privacy and freedom. V. T he U se of the S ocial C ommunications M edia 2493 Within modern society the communications media play a major role in information, cultural promotion, and formation. This role is increasing, as a result of technological progress, the extent and diversity of the news transmitted, and the influence exercised on public opinion. 2494 The information provided by the media is at the service of the common good. 285 Society has a right to information based on truth, freedom, justice, and solidarity: The proper exercise of this right demands that the content of the communication be true and—within the limits set by justice and charity—complete. Further, it should be commu­ nicated honestly and properly. This means that in the gath­ ering and in the publication of news, the moral law and the legitimate rights and dignity of man should be upheld. 286 285 Cf. IM 11. 286 IM 5 § 2. 2522 1906