Pope Francis Tells Journalists "disarm language and encourage dialogue. The gaze must be directed from the heart" FULL TEXT - Vatican

Saturday, June 24, 2023
Ladies and Gentlemen,
welcome! I greet Doctor Simona Agnes, the President Doctor Gianni Letta, the members of the Jury and all of you present, who are involved in the field of communication in various capacities. The Foundation that promotes the International Journalism and Information Award bears the name of Biagio Agnes, a well-known Italian journalist, a prominent protagonist of RAI, defender of its public service, capable of intervening with wisdom and decision to guarantee authentic and correct information .

The Award has reached its fifteenth edition: a time frame that photographs the great changes still underway and allows, at the same time, to lay the foundations for a style that finds one of his inspirers in Biagio Agnes. In this sense I would also like to read the closeness to this initiative by RAI - represented here by its top management - and for some years also by Confindustria. Only together, each with their own specifics and prerogatives, can we draw a horizon of hope.
It is the daily work of the journalist, called to "wear out the soles of his shoes" or to travel the digital streets always listening to the people he meets. «Journalism, as a narrative of reality, requires the ability to go where no one goes: a move and a desire to see. A curiosity, an openness, a passion» (Message for the 55th World Day of Social Communications, January 23, 2021). This is also underlined by the Jury with the War Reporter Award: an attention which, in recounting the tragedy and absurdity of conflicts, makes everyone feel part of the same suffering. In this regard, I would like to indicate three "elements" of journalistic work, which perhaps are used less and less, but which still have so much to teach: notebook, pen and gaze.
Notebook. Writing down a fact always involves great inner work. It is written down because one is a direct witness or because a source, who is believed to be reliable, reports it and then opens up to the next verification. The notebook reminds us of the importance of listening, but above all of letting ourselves be transfixed by what is happening. The journalist is never an accountant of history, but a person who has decided to experience its implications with participation, with com-passion.
Quill. It is used less and less, replaced by more advanced means, yet the pen helps to elaborate thought, connecting head and hands, favoring memories and linking memory with the present. The pen evokes the craftsmanship to which the journalist is always called: he takes the pen in his hand after checking the details, examining the hypotheses, reconstructing and verifying every single step. In this texture, intelligence and conscience act together, touching their own existential strings. The pen thus recalls the "creative act" of journalists and media operators, an act which requires combining the search for truth with rectitude and respect for people, in particular with respect for professional ethics, just as done Biagio Agnes.
Gaze. Notebook and pen are simple accessories if there is no gaze on reality. A real look, not just virtual. Today, more than in the past, one can be distracted by words, images and messages that pollute life. Let's think, for example, of the sad phenomenon of fake news, belligerent rhetoric or anything that manipulates the truth. We need a careful look at what is happening to disarm language and encourage dialogue. The gaze must be directed from the heart: from there "the right words spring forth to dispel the shadows of a closed and divided world and build a better civilization than the one we have received. It is an effort required of each of us, but which calls in particular the sense of responsibility of communication workers, so that they carry out their profession as a mission" (Message for the 57th World Day of Social Communications, 24 January 2023).
Dear friends, I encourage you to continue your commitment to promoting cultural initiatives to support the dissemination of correct information, educating and training the younger generations. Thank you again and my congratulations to the winners. And please remember to pray for me. Thank you.
Source Vatican.va Translation from Bulletin