Justin Welby hits out at fake news epidemic as he uses Easter sermon to stress importance of facts

Olivia Rudgard

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has hit out at the epidemic of fake news in his annual Easter sermon. 

Archbishop Welby said that the public has become used to facts "being reduced to the level of opinion" and that "opinions are in themselves the only facts that seem to count". 

He spoke as the Royal Family attended an Easter service at St George's chapel at Windsor Castle

The Prime Minister Theresa May also attended a service at St Andrew's Church in Sonning, Berkshire. 

Archbishop Welby said that Christians who have been targeted by bombing in Egypt will continue to celebrate Easter because of the "reality" of the Resurrection. 

Last week churches St George’s in Tanta and St Mark’s in Alexandria, both in northern Egypt, were attacked by bombers who killed at least 45 in attacks for which Isil has claimed responsibility. 

Archbishop Welby said: "We are used to facts being contested. We are even used to facts being reduced to the level of opinion. 

The five types of fake news

"So individualised are our news cycles that our opinions are in themselves the only facts that seem to count.

"However, what brings the faithful out to worship in Tanta and Alexandria is truth. It happened."

In his Easter address Pope Francis also referenced violence in the Middle East, condemning Saturday's attack on a convoy of Syrian evacuees near Aleppo. 

He said: “At this time support the efforts of those who are actively working to bring relief and comfort to civilians in Syria, the victim of a war that continues to sow horror and death.

“The latest despicable attack yesterday on fleeing refugees has resulted in numerous deaths and injuries. Bring peace to all the Middle East, from the Holy Land  to Iraq and Yemen as well.”

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