Things I heard at the "Core Values" conference

On November 4th, 2016, the Pontifical Lateran University held a conference on “Core Values – The Transmission of Values in Digital Age”. Radio Vaticana already published an official summary that explains how participants spent the day “posing hard questions to each other about the values that will best inform and sustain a coherent vision of integral human development in changing times” under the guide of Pope Francis' encyclical letter Laudato si'". This post, instead, is only a selection of the “quotable quotes” (from my handwritten notes, my apologies in advance for any error!) that I found most relevant, at least from the crucial point of view that

I present in a separate post:

  • H.E Bishop E. dal Covolo, rector of the University, said that the Catholic Church:

  • cares that [online messages, relations and communications] are ethically correct

  • intends to contribute a compass to make it easier to transmit values in the digital world

  • the Bishop also expressed his wish that the conference could contribute to the writing of a universal Chart of Values in the digital social economy

  • Monsignor Viganò, prefect of the vatican Secretariat for Communication, remembered the passage from Laudato Sì that says “We have to accept that technological products are not neutral”

  • For Mr Dominic (?), WPP ,in the Digital Age:

  • there are more opportunities for businesses with values

  • it is even more important that companies have values and stick to them

  • Mr Buhlmann, Dentso Aegis: we now live in a mediated society: soft globalization increases, just when hard globalization slows down

  • Mr Lèvy, Publicis Groupe:

  • we in advertising agencies must be able to say no to customers, and be not partisan

  • How do you pass values when kids are on Snapchat, parents on Facebook?

  • Mr Zaslav, Discovery Communications:

  • as content owners, we have obligations: we have more power than armies. Right wing government first go to content and news, because they know that

  • one of the most dangerous things on the web is it can be anonymous. We must think about it

  • Mr. Sawiris, Orascom (answering the question_ “what responsibility do you see for controllers (Facebook, Google) of what is distributed?"_):

  • we built millions of stuff for others to come and make millions. I [also] had problems with my phones used for gambling, or pornography. The only way to handle this is to make Facebook, Google etc… sign a code of ethics (example: no porn, no underage gambling) just as we have laws forbidding underage drinking

  • Twitter, Facebook… are the best apparatus for ISIS.We must make laws to forbid this

  • later in the conference, answering the question “what values are digital/mobiles world transmitting?” Mr Sawiris asked to please distinguish between the content and the tube that delivers it

  • Mr Willey, BBC: [even online] “facts have to be established by professional journalists” (*)

  • Mr D’Asaro Biondo, Google, said many interesting things, including:

  • we are perfectly aware that certain contents should be banned. We make sure copyright is protected. We do perform these tasks, but we agree it is common responsibility together with telcos etc.

  • “more people being able to** access the same info** => more opportunities” (emphasis mine…)

  • young people know they give data for service, and they feel it is worth giving their data for those services. Without sharing data, there cannot be services (ME: centralized services, that is)

  • Mr Moretti, VICE, disagreed on the last point: “I do NOT think youngsters do understand all the implications.”. He also added, later on, that “Objects of fascination must be human beings, not the platforms”

  • Finally,Prince Nikolaus, FEM, asked:

  • to media operators, to seek cooperation with religious communities. Self regulation will be key

  • to everybody, to have special concern for young people, (“think how much DAESH material young [people turned] fundamentalists found online”)

(*) a statement that, if I may so, I found debatable even during the conference, that is before Trump’s election and the failure of most media professionals to see it coming.