Pope Francis is denouncing “fake news” as evil and is urging journalists to make it their mission to search for truth.

After facing unprecedented bad press during his just-concluded South American tour, the pope released his annual social communications message Wednesday, on the subject of “fake news and journalism for peace.”

Francis said the first fake news dates from the Biblical beginning of time, when Eve was tempted to take an apple from the Garden of Eden based on disinformation from the serpent.

He said: “The strategy of this skilled ‘Father of Lies’ is precisely mimicry, that sly and dangerous form of seduction that worms its way into the heart with false and alluring arguments.”

He urged a rediscovery of the “dignity of journalism” and for reporters to speak the truth.

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