TO THE DELEGATION OF THE PRIZE
OF "BIAGIO AGNES" INTERNATIONAL JOURNALISM
Monday, 4 June 2018
Welcome! I greet and thank Dr. Simona Agnes, the members of the Jury and all of you present, who in various capacities cover important roles in communication. The Foundation that promotes the Award bears the name of Biagio Agnes, one of the best known Italian journalists, defender of the public service, who repeatedly intervened on the role of the journalist as the guarantor of correct, reliable, authentic and timely information.
By making use of his teaching, all of you commit yourselves, first of all personally, to a communication that knows how to put the truth before personal or corporate interests. In addition, by observing what is produced by the cultural industry, with this award you report to the company journalists and journalists who are distinguished by responsibility in the exercise of the profession. In fact, being a journalist has to do with the formation of people, their vision of the world and their attitudes before events. It is a demanding job, which at the moment is experiencing a season characterized, on the one hand, by digital convergence and, on the other, by the transformation of the same media.
Often I happen to see, on the occasion of apostolic trips or other meetings, a difference in production methods: from the classic TV crews to the boys and girls who know how to package news for a portal with a mobile phone. Or even from traditional radios to real interviews always done with a cell phone. All this says that we are indeed experiencing a pressing transformation of the forms and languages of information. It is difficult to enter into this process of transformation, but it is increasingly necessary if we want to continue to be educators of the new generations. I said it was tiring, and I would add that wise vigilance is needed. In fact, «the dynamics of the media and of the digital world, [...] when they become omnipresent, do not favor the development of a capacity to live with wisdom, to think deeply, to love with generosity. The great scholars of the past, in this context, would run the risk of seeing their wisdom suffocated in the midst of the dispersal noise of information (Enc. Laudato si ', 47).
There are no recipes, but I would like to underline three words: suburbs, truth and hope.
Suburbs. Very often, the nerve centers of news production are found in large centers. But this should never make us forget the stories of people living far away in the suburbs. They are stories sometimes of suffering and degradation; other times they are stories of great solidarity that can help everyone to look at reality in a renewed way.
Truth. We all know that a journalist is called to write what he thinks, what corresponds to his conscious and responsible understanding of an event. It is necessary to be very demanding with oneself so as not to fall into the trap of the logic of opposition for interests or ideologies. Today, in a world where everything is fast, it is increasingly urgent to appeal to the painful and arduous law of in-depth research, confrontation and, if necessary, also of keeping quiet rather than hurting a person or a group of people or delegitimizing an event. I know it is difficult, but the story of a life is understood at the end, and this must help us to become courageous and also, I would say, prophetic.
Hope. It is not about telling a world without problems: it would be an illusion. It is a matter of opening spaces of hope while denouncing situations of degradation and despair. A journalist should not feel right for the mere fact of having recounted, according to his own free and conscious responsibility, an event. It is called to keep open an area of exit, of meaning, of hope.
I conclude by recalling one of the initiatives that the Biagio Agnes Foundation, thanks to the tenacity of its President, carries forward: the Scientific Dissemination Forum "Check-Up for Italy", a project born from an idea by Biagio Agnes, which has the objective to deepen medical-scientific topics through accurate information that contrasts the proliferation of "do-it-yourself" information and approximate news, which more and more often can be found on the Net and which attract the public's attention much more than science. The Pontifical Council for Culture has just concluded an international conference on these issues. In this regard, I would like to remind you that "it is necessary to ensure a responsible and wide-ranging scientific and social debate, capable of considering all the information available and of calling things by their name. Sometimes the complete information is not put on the table, but it is select according to their own interests, be they political, economic or ideological "(Laudato si ', 135). Thank you again and I extend my congratulations to the Prize winners. And please, remember to pray for me. Thank you.
Text Source Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation - Image Vatican News