Archbishop John Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, addressed the international convention of the World Federation of Advertisers, in Santiago, Chile last Friday. Focusing on the council's 1997 document 'Ethics in Advertising', he noted that the document began with 'The Benefits Of Advertising', which include: 'sustaining honest and ethically responsible competition which contributes to economic growth, to the possibility of choice and to authentic human development. and promoting morally healthy activity. It also contributes to wider knowledge, to lower prices and, usually, to more jobs.' He added that: "freedom of political advertising" is important for "making people aware of candidates and their proposals." On the negative side, the archbishop said he felt that "the greatest harm of advertising would be the impression which is created that having is more important than being." Archbishop Foley then addressed three particular principles and concerns. He said that the first principle: "Being is better than having" comes from the fact that "our essential God-given human dignity is not based upon the possessions we have" and he implored advertisers never "to put poor people down, even subconsciously." The second principle, he said is: "Each person must be treated with respect" and he noted that "so often the media in general and advertising in particular" exploit both men and women "as sex symbols." "A third principle of ethics in communications is the common good. A growing concern in democratic societies is the ethical aspect of political campaigning when, instead of being a vehicle for honest expositions of a candidate's views and records, political advertising seeks to distort the views and records of opponents and unjustly attacks their reputations." Source: VIS
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