Testimonials

Can Dùndar

I’m very honoured to win the 2016’s “Premio Ischia Internazionale di Giornalismo” Award by my Italian collegues. It’s a price that means a lot not only for me, but for other journalists in Turkey trying to defend  our profession.Your solidarity and suppor twill never be forgotten. Thank you very much

Joaquin Navarro Valls

I would like now to commemorate one person: Giuseppe Valentino, the founder of the award, a journalist of the Island of Ischia who conceived the idea of this award.Creating an award is in itself a very original idea. But his greatest merit is not that he founded it, but that he gave the Premio Ischia an international standing and made it known to the whole world.

Tian Wei

When I arrived Ischia appeared to me like a fantasy location: I thought I was in a fairy tale. Everything I saw looked like a picture, the blue sky, the boats and the smiles of the people, who know how to enjoy life. It certainly is a different reality from our sceneries. For someone who lives in a frenzied country which changes all the time it is luxury to immerse oneself in the Italian pace of life, in such a timeless place. This is also the reason why more and more Chinese chose Italy for their vacations. Discovering a different beautiful country. In the spirit of beauty and a relaxed way of life.

Kerry Kennedy

I am delighted to be back on the island after such a long time and to take part in one of the most important awards in the world.

Lina Ben Mhenni

“I have just come back from the Award Ceremony of the Ischia International Journalism Prize. I feel honoured to receive this prize which represents a further step forward in my fight for my country and for humanity. I am proud because, before me, many illustrious names of international journalism received it. I dedicate this prize to my country, my beautiful Tunisia, to the Tunisians and in particular, to the Tunisian women, who are the true stronghold against obscurantism, ignorance and all forms of extremism. I dedicate it to the martyrs, to their families who continue to fight against impunity and to those wounded who carry on fighting even through extreme sufferings, but also to those young persons who face trials for having taken part in the revolution. I dedicate it also to those who cross the sea in boats that are not worthy of that name, thinking they will escape the poverty of the south attracted by the wealth of the north, but die in the seas or are locked in shameful camps or are declared, simply, lost!”

 

Walter Cronkite

2009

Over the years I have followed the Premio Ischia with great interest and I particularly applaud the brave decision taken by the Valentino Foundation last September, to reinvigorate the event by the creation of an international panel of jurors formed of experienced journalists, broadcasters and writers from around the world, and expand its horizons to new forms of communication.My memories take me back to the glorious surroundings and unique magic of that island, its shimmering colors and the heady scents of its gardens. I remember well the impressive ceremony, the importance of the topics we discussed and the warmth and hospitality of the Valentino brothers, but above all else each year the Premio reminds me of the secret of our profession, that there can be no democracy without freedom of expression - both in speech and in the press.The eternal fascination and secret of our work is – and always will be - reporting the truth, even when we do so at the risk of our lives. And I recall that since I received the Premio, almost fifteen years ago, more than 500 reporters and journalists have paid that ultimate price in the pursuance of truth.One reflection, from a broadcaster of ninety-two who has dedicated his life to presenting the facts, addressed to the young journalists rewarded in Ischia: be strenuous in protecting your independence and critical faculties, because this is the essence of the indispensable function of journalism in the defense of modern civilization and democracy. This is the secret to the success of the Premio Ischia: it has understood this great truth, and rewards those who obey it.

1995

My envy knows no bounds of those who will be in wonderful Ischia this year — or any year, for that matter — for the International Ischitan Prize of Journalism. The setting itself, of course, is incomparable. This small island certainly is a jewel that glistens with a shimmering intensity known by few other places on the planet. Its secret is in its many facets, each, upon discovery, seemingly more brilliant than those whose discovery has gone, breathlessly, before. Porto, the most frequent harbor of entry, immediately captures the imagination with that great medieval castle dominating the waterfront, commanding one’s sense of history. And then the climb into the hills and the bath of perfume from the flower gardens and the nearly pristine pineclad hills. Then, there, around that narrow bend in the road, one is rendered breathless by the first view of the Ischia coast — a dramatic spectacle of forbidding cliffs and welcoming beaches and tiny harbors with their lighthouses posing for camera and artist.There must be stops, of course, for refreshment in the typical inns and, perhaps, even a dip into the sea. Later the thermal baths for which the island is famous — they are said to cure practically everything including diseases which haven’t even been discovered yet — and the drive toward the top of towering Mount Epomeo, past the dry zones pocked by volcanic eruptions of long ago but decorated now by the vines that produce Ischia’s uniquely dry and aromatic wine. For the lucky recipient of an Ischia Prize for Journalism the surroundings for the impressive ceremony could not be more glorious. And the prize itself has acquired a glory to match the surroundings. It serves as an important reminder of the role that journalism plays in the modern world. Unfortunately, much of the public needs that reminder. We tend to become blasé about the importance to our civilization of the free press (and, here, of course, we speak of the press generically to include broadcast news as well as the printed press.) These rewards, although limited as they must be to those singled out for recognition, serve to remind us of the devotion to their craft exhibited by all responsible journalists — a devotion that not infrequently requires a courage of extraordinary character. Around the world at least 26 journalists died violently last year in pursuit of the truth — usually at the hands of those who preferred to continue their dirty deeds in the dark. Another 129 were imprisoned by political regimes that feared the light of day. These are the fallen heroes of an information war in which we must triumph if the people are to be free. For there can be no meaningful freedom in any other expression of civilization without the freedom of speech and of press. The press itself cannot assume the role of the classroom teacher, but it is an essential tool for the education of the public, an education without which democracy cannot survive. An uneducated public, and one without a free press, are merely vassals to an autocracy of the educated. They are unequipped to participate in their government by intelligently exercising their franchise at the voting polls. The early American statesman Thomas Jefferson said it so well a couple of hundred years ago: "A people that expects to be ignorant and free expects what never can and never will be." Let us raise our hats again this year for those honored at Ischia who pursue with courage and devotion this great enterprise of free journalism, and raise our hats too to those who organize this event and provide this annual reminder of the importance of our profession.

 

Martin Wolf  2012

"It is a great honour to receive this prize, which is so remarkable for the distinction and indeed the bravery of those who have won it before me. It is a great pleasure to receive the prize in this wonderful island, located in the most beautiful country in the world, which is also the cradle of western civilisation.  

“I am only sad that my father, who loved Italy and was a distinguished journalist and broadcaster in his own right could not be here with me tonight. He would have been so very proud. But I am delighted that my daughter, Rachel, is here. 

"Nevertheless, I must confess that I feel I am an impostor. I am not, in truth, a journalist. I am certainly not a hero, unlike Syed Saleem Shahzad, martyred winner of last year’s prize. I am an economist who has been lucky to write for a great newspaper in English, today's global language.

“I am well aware of that good fortune. I am also aware that on the other side of the coin of my ability to write about the greatest financial crisis since the 1930s is very bad luck for hundreds of millions of people, including people here in Italy. 

"Since the crisis began, I and my colleagues at the Financial Times have sought not only to explain what is happening as clearly as we can, but to make pragmatic and workable recommendations for immediate policy and longer-term reforms.

“This week, it appears that the eurozone may at last have taken big steps towards resolving the crisis in the continent. If it is so, I greet the news with pleasure, unalloyed by any fear that the end of the crisis, should that occur, would mean an end to the centrality of commentary on economics that my receipt of this prize represents. I can live with that. You surely can live with that.

"Once again, may I give you all my thanks at this enormous honour. This truly is among the very greatest pleasures and honours of my life."That was the speech I would have delivered on receiving this year’s Ischia Prize for International Journalism if I had been able to do so. Instead, I found myself participating in a unique – and uniquely Italian – event: a compered national television programme that celebrates the award of important prizes in journalism, but is also decorated with beautiful young women, enlivened by musical entertainments and located in front of a lovely little church. This was the Oscars for journalists – an extraordinary and unforgettable experience.

What made it more extraordinary still, for me, was the fact that I dared to answer questions on economics in my faltering Italian. I can only hope that I avoided making catastrophic blunders. But, by then, I had already become used to doing interviews in Italian, though, fortunately, I had been able to do the big panel discussion on the crisis for television in English.

Everything about our three days in Ischia was extraordinary: the hospitality; the heat; the elegance of the hotel; and the beauty of the island. It was a wonderful, indeed unforgettable interlude, in a busy life. Moreover, this is not a part of Italy I know at all well: we have a flat in Liguria. So the impressions were new and so more vivid.

What were the highlights of the visit, apart from everything associated with the prize itself? I would list two.

The first was the visit to the Villa Arbusto Museum, to see Nestor’s Cup, found in the excavation of Pithekoussai. Before I studied economics, I studied the classical languages at Oxford University. As is true of everything that happens to one before one is 21, the memory of reading the Iliad is still very fresh.  The idea that the Euboean script on this cup was the ancestor of the Latin alphabet, which then became the alphabet of all European languages, was extraordinarily moving. I was reminded, yet again, that Greece and, not least, the Greek colonies in southern Italy known as Magna Graecia, were the progenitors of our common European civilisation.

The second highlight was the visit to the gardens of La Mortella, created by Susana Walton together with the English designer Russell Page. The gardens themselves are a magical creation. But Sir William Walton himself also has personal significance for me, chiefly for his unforgettable music for the film of the patriotic play, Henry V, directed by Laurence Olivier in 1944, in which Olivier also played the title role. My father was a playwright and great lover of Shakespeare. This was the first film of a Shakespeare play I saw. It is, of course, a brilliant success artistically, not least for the heroic music. Seeing the home of the Waltons brought back many memories of my father and my childhood introduction to the work of the great playwright.

I am grateful to the sponsors of the prize, above all, the Valentino family, the jury that awarded it to me it and all those who made our stay in Ischia a magical experience, particularly Lesley Morton.

Life can offer few more delightful experiences than to be feted in a magical place. The Ischia prize gave me this experience. I will not forget it.

 

John Simpson

So it was an immense pleasure, as well as a great honour, to find that I had been awarded the Ischia Prize for 2010; and when I read the long list of people who had received it over the years, I felt a distinct sense of unworthiness. Any journalist who reports in the less pleasant areas of the world is likely to find a familiar group of colleagues to work with. There are the British, of course. There are the French. There are Australians and New Zealanders and South Africans, who often do the technical work for the big television organisations. And, in particular, there are the Italians. I personally cannot remember an important news story that happened in a dangerous place, and was not reported on the spot by Italian reporters and cameramen.

Not Germans. Not Japanese. Not Russians. Not, nowadays, Americans. You can find all these nationalities in difficult places from time to time, but the only true regulars are the Italians, the French and the British.

So it was an immense pleasure, as well as a great honour, to find that I had been awarded the Ischia Prize for 2010; and when I read the long list of people who had received it over the years, I felt a distinct sense of unworthiness. This is an emotion which people who work for television news often experience, I have noticed; they believe, rightly or wrongly, that there is something intellectually inferior about television news – as though it is slighter and more trivial than writing for a newspaper or magazine. The entire experience of coming to Ischia was a rebuttal of that. The prize is one of the great international awards, and the beauty of the island (which, I gather, the tradition of the Prize is intended to showcase) rendered the whole event finer still. In most countries, a ceremony like this would have been conducted in the sweaty interior of a theatre or concert-hall. Here, we sat out in the heat and enjoyed it. The prize-giving itself was a masterpiece of Italian showmanship, a marriage of intellect and television spectacular which combined the serious and the glamorous. Girls in dresses the size of sequined handkerchiefs teetered across the stage on heels as high as step-ladders, smirking at the audience and carrying the unusually handsome silver-gilt sculptures which were to be handed to the winners. The journalists who had won them were about as badly dressed as journalists almost invariably are; we formed a strange contrast with the television glitz surrounding us. I managed to stutter out a few words in Italian, painstakingly learned during the earlier part of the ceremony, and was applauded for it way beyond my deserving. I was particularly fortunate to have the companionship, advice and knowledge of Ischia and Italy of Dennis Redmont, from the organizing team, and also of my long-term colleague David Willey, the BBC’s Rome correspondent. Dennis I knew from some of the world’s great events in the past, when he was the king of news agency correspondents; David was so sensationally glamorous when I was a new arrival at the BBC in 1966 that I immediately decided I had to be a foreign correspondent like him one day; and at Ischia, 44 years later, I felt I had perhaps succeeded. It was charming to be inducted into the Ischian mysteries by the two of them, and their delightful ladies. Ever since the ceremony, even I have been surprised by my ability to slip into conversation with almost everyone I meet that I have been awarded the Ischia Prize. It certainly is one of the greatest honours that I have been fortunate to receive. And what a magnificent setting for it!

 

Kerry Kennedy

I am delighted that Premio Ischia is supporting the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation of Europe to present the First Edition of the Robert F. Kennedy Europe Journalism Award. The RFK Foundation was founded to carry forward Robert Kennedy’s unfinished work on social and economic justice, on protecting the dignity of human beings of all races and colors, the work of nurturing the next generation.

The Journalism Award carries forward that work with the added dimensions of reflecting Robert Kennedy’s commitment to freedom of expression and his admiration for courage.

As kids, we had to read an hour a day. My father loved poetry. We’d read it aloud on campaign trips. Kipling’s If, Robert Service’s The Cremation of Sam McGee, Tennyson’s Ulysses and The charge of a light brigade. Percy French’s Abdul Abulbul Amir and Leigh Hunt’s Abou Ben Adam.

He made us memorize poetry and recite it to him on Sunday nights.

Books were everywhere in our house. Floors, ceilings, shelves, bathrooms, closets, the attic, the basement and every coffee table.

The breakfast table was covered with the daily papers…The Washington Post, The Washington Sun, the New York Times, The New York Daily News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, The Boston Globe.

We subscribed to Time, Life, Look, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, National Geographic, Harpers, and a strange magazine with a 3 d cover.

Perhaps the greatest indication of how important news was, was the TV room, where news always trumped other shows. Younger siblings took delight in demanding that older kids turn the channel from a favorite game show to the Six O’Clock News.

The annual RFK Journalism award (established in the US in 1968) was always an event which I found a bit puzzling as a kid. For much of the year I felt our family was under attack from the papers in a way that often seemed undignified and unfair.

Then every spring we would honor these truly remarkable men and women who were exposing injustice and generally carrying on in a very noble fashion.

This all came to a head for me when I found myself seated with several younger siblings, two of my mothers friends, Leora Mora and Gertrude Corbin and a gossip columnist during the journalism award. It was the early 70s and the awards were held at the Kennedy Center … and were full of the Washington Hoy poloi.

That year the Grand prize went to the expose on Willowbrook, the horrific institution where the state warehoused people with mental retardation. Children were chained, naked for hours, even days at a time, corporal punishment was a daily routine. I remember watching that film and shuttering in horror at the inhumanity, and feeling grateful to the journalist who showed the piece, Geraldo Rivera.

And then the next day, imagine my surprise when the morning paper reported that we had engaged in a food fight at the table! When asked by Leora for an explanation, the gossip columnist said, “Oh well, without the food fight, the story was just too boring.” So there we have it. Journalism can be base lies for the amusement of an ignorant public and the advancement of an ambitious gossip who was probably seeking revenge for being stuck with the kids in the back of the room-- Or it used to expose injustice, and create change.

And that’s what the RFK Journalism Award and the patronage of Premio Ischia are all about.

It is about those who use their talents to investigate, record and exposes their abuses. It is about journalists who play a critical role in influencing public opinion and therefore both foreign and domestic policy, and inevitably, who lives and who dies. This is an award for those who know their influence and take their responsibility seriously.

And journalism requires the quality my father so admired - - - bravery.

Few professions require quite so much courage as journalism does today.

810 journalists have been murdered since 1992, almost all with impunity, in reprisal for exercising the right to free expression. Journalists are under increasingly hostile fire. But not from the enemy in war, rather from their own governments.

When war broke out in the former Yugoslavia, the first group targeted weren’t Albanians or Croatians or Serbs or Moslems. The first group that was targeted was the press.

29 journalists were killed there. They were killed in crossfire, a horrible but well known risk historically faced by war co-respondents. But not only. Throughout the war, members of the press were deliberately sought out and assassinated by snipers.

Ron Haviv was the first photographer to document ethnic cleansing. His series of images depicted a Moslem husband and wife crossing a street while 3 Serbian commandos looked on. The next image is of the wife desperate, leaning over her assassinated husband. The third shows both husband and wife shot dead, with one of the commandos, foot high in the air, ready to kick their limp bodies.

Haviv was threatened with death after the pictures appeared. Today, he is still unable to return to Bosnia. As one Serbian military leader put it: ”I will drink his blood.”

 In Algeria, the civil war pitting the military regime against the extremist Armed Islamic Group, a terrorist organization fighting to overthrow the government, claimed the lives of 60 journalists. As a matter of policy, the AIG sought out and murdered journalists as arms of the secular state. Then they put out a press release claiming responsibility for their brutality. As the AIG put it: “Those who fight with the pen shall die by the sword”.

The press is under attack. Homicide is now the leading cause of job-related deaths in the profession world-wide, and the press most under attack are local journalists.

Daniel Pearl made front page headlines and his murder was an atrocity. But it was also the exception. Of the 400 journalists whose killings have been investigated by the Committee to Protect Journalists, only 7 were Americans on assignment overseas. The journalists who are most at risk are local journalists. Local journalists risk imprisonment, torture and death for the basic rights we take for granted: the right to shoot a picture, the right to print something in a newspaper, the right to express themselves freely. They have rejected the role of passive spectator, victim of political or social status quo, pawn of events. They have chosen instead to engage in a personal battle to change in some small or substantial way the history of their countries.

Unfortunately it is not necessary to go too far away to find brave journalists, who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while doing their job. Also the “Western” world, also Italy has its victims. I want to remember now two such individuals. The first is Giancarlo Siani, killed a few chilometers away from Ischia for having written and told the world about camorra. He was 26 years old: the same age as the winner of the First Edition of the RFK Europe Journalism Award Mr. Andrea Gerli. The second is Peppino Impastato, blown up near Palermo because he “bothered” a mafia boss.

The judges are not looking to who sold the most copies nor fashioned the pretty prose.

Rather, the RFK Awards look to those who expose injustice, prod our conscience, comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Like some of this years winners of the US edition, they cover civil rights, domestic violence, child abuse, AIDS, the plight of immigrants, and the sorry state of our schools, to name a few. And the rehabilitation of victims, like the winner of the first RFK Europe Journalism Award.

But the person who put best the spirit of the RFK Award, was Robert Kennedy himself when he said: “Moral Courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change. And those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will find them selves with companions in every corner of the globe.”

All of you who have won the award, you are the companions. And we are glad to welcome among these companions the winner of the first RFK Europe Journalism Award.

You are companions with people like Ron Haviv, Danny Pearl and Jeff Nyroata, and Giancarlo Siani and Peppino Impastato, journalists and writers who faced challenge to maintain objectivity about the facts and truth while never disengaging from the human beings who are suffering. For that, and on behalf of my family, I want to thank you.

 

Armando Valladares

In this marvellous setting on an enchanted island, a true paradise on earth,  I dedicated this prize to the memory of my fellow prisoners.”

 

The prow of the boat that was carrying us towards the island of Ischia advanced rapidly, whipping the waters of the wonderful Bay of Naples into a foaming spray. My wife and I were enjoying the warmth of the breeze under an intensely blue sky and couldn’t tear our gaze from the scenery that quickly passed by.

All we knew was that Ischia was a delightful small island to the south of Naples, famous for its natural beauty - but not even the most detailed tourist brochure, nor all the postcards and tales from friends who had already visited, could come anywhere close to the reality.

The port where we disembarked was full of departing tourists and others, like ourselves, arriving and anxious to leave the boat and get to know the island.

We were being met, and this was just the first demonstration of our hosts’ warmth and affection. The car to the hotel took us along a road bordered by oleanders. We know the plant as the Adelfa, but had never before seen it in the form of a tree. This was the result of extraordinary work by gardeners who with patience and skill had pruned the branches and directed the central stem, as if it were a majestic giant bonsai, to transform the plant into a trunk surmounted by a crown of multicoloured fronds. As the car climbed, the blue horizon of the sea opened up to our right, across it the swirling white brushstrokes of sail boats, sparkling like harbour seagulls.The room awaiting us at the Hotel Regina Isabella was the same one used by Alfred Hitchcock, the magician of suspense. A small plaque by the door recorded that this highly enigmatic figure had been a guest there. The view from the balcony was unforgettable. Below, like a clear transparent emerald, the water - peaceful, clean and without a ripple – was an invitation to dive in. Along the breakwater beach umbrellas sprouted like coloured mushrooms.We took a walk around the town, losing ourselves in the delightful alleyways. There were flowers in marvellous cascades, in every corner imaginable. The little shops selling tourist items were an explosion of colours, fruit, sweets and the famous limoncello, much praised by friends who had tasted it. Other shops were full of aromatic spices, temptations called torroni, liqueurs, ceramics, finely worked silverware and we found everything that a visitor could possibly desire. In small restaurants, with terraces bordered by flowers, and in high class antique shops, invaluable advice and explanations of products we didn’t know.But the most extraordinary surprise was what happened in the town’s park: a stage had been set up in the open air, the inhabitants brought chairs from their houses and straightaway an improvised theatre where they began with the Barber of Seville. A hushed audience who like us appreciated this unforgettable spectacle. The Premio Ischia Internazionale for journalism has presented its first Award in recognition of the fight for Human Rights this year, and I was the first recipient of the Award. In this marvellous setting on an enchanted island, a true paradise on earth, I dedicated this prize to the memory of my fellow prisoners, killed by torture in the hidden cells of the Seguridad - the Security forces of the Cuban state - and its political prisons.

It’s almost a year since the death of a humble black worker, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, recognised by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, who died following a hunger strike, after being denied even water for almost two weeks. This prisoner did not ask to be freed, he didn’t ask for any material comforts, he only asked not to be beaten, not to be tortured any more....but despite this they beat him for forty, sixty, eighty days to make him break his hunger strike. His body was bruised by blows, his chest, his shoulders, his arms showed the marks of torture received up until the last day, that of his death. The sacrifice of this prisoner, has awoken the conscience of the world; suddenly public opinion has” discovered” that in Cuba there is a fierce tyranny, which tortures its prisoners to the point of death and arrests the White Ladies on the street when their only crime was that of marching peacefully, in silence, for their imprisoned relatives. Man is the marvel of creation; to torture him, to exterminate him for his ideas, more than a violation of Human Rights, is a crime against Humanity.

Unfortunately, some have a selective sensibility, and condemn the violations of these rights when they happen within those dictatorships with whom they don’t sympathise, and exhibit a complicit silence when these same crimes are committed by dictatorships on the other side, as happens for those who justify the dictatorship of Fidel Castro. There is no such thing as a good dictatorship.

Mankind is more than an ideology, a faith, a race, a religion or a way of life - above any other consideration there is the human condition. For this, recognitions such as the Premio Ischia Internazionale for Human Rights represent an important contribution to the struggle to build a better world in which the dignity of every inhabitant of the planet is respected above all other considerations.

 

David Grossman

I came to Ischia with my family in July 2007. The days spent on the island in the company of the organisers of the Premio Ischia were simply enchanting. The kindness and generosity with which we were received, the warmth and hospitality, the beauty of the places and the joy of meeting interesting and opinionated people from Italy and elsewhere made our stay fantastic. Pleasures both physical and spiritual, profound conversations, public – and private – debates on the hottest and most relevant topics of the day and the opportunity for getting personally acquainted with leading figures from the mass media, and the worlds of culture, science and economics made the days that we spent in Ischia unforgettable.

 

Jean Daniel

 

Among the awards given to me over the course of a long career, I keep a special place for the prize I received from the Premio Ischia Internazionale di Giornalismo. It is true that when you dedicate your entire life and passion to your profession, it is gratifying to receive signs of recognition, in the true sense of the word. The members of the jury of a prestigious Prize recognised me and in turn I address to them this sign of my recognition.

In the memories that I keep of those warm days of July 2006 on the fabulous island of Ischia, I find no trace of any merely formal hospitality. On the contrary, I was constantly given attentive and thoughtful care, and the fraternal warmth of my friends Eugenio Scalfari and Marcelle Padovani who were there with me. It is true that for quite some time I have had a special bond with the readership of the Italian press and with all my colleagues there as I am regularly in their newspapers, and also that I am always invited to their political and professional events. And so I am truly grateful. But beyond this, I also have to say that the perfection of the organisation has impressed me as I know that staging any event on an island can involve serious difficulties. Later, when I learned that the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, had done me the honour of mentioning my name during the encounter reserved for winners of the Premio Ischia, I was almost overwhelmed with pride. And so I wish the next winners, in July 2009, the same joy and gratification that the Premio has brought me; I congratulate them in advance and promise that I shall share in their excitement.

 

Peter Sthotard

Before I became a winner of the Premio Ischia I knew the island only for the writing on its famous 'Cup of Nestor', the oldest surviving words written in the alphabet of classical Greek. According to a visitor to Ischia in around 750 BC, "Whoever drinks the contents, straightaway he will be seized by the goddess of Love": and this prize-winning visitor of 2002 maintained that tradition, falling in love with the island as so many have done over 3000 years Those seemingly clear ancient words are, in truth, as open to as many different interpretations as the words we read in the newspapers today and the subjects we discuss during the Premio. It has been an honour to take part in such debates about the media, its morality and its language - as well as to have been recognised by a jury headed by Biagio Agnes and to have followed in the footsteps of Arrigo Levi, a friend of The Times of London for so long. As editor now of the Times Literary Supplement, and writing as much about the ancient world as the modern, I will always look forward to taking part in the Premio, and to sharing a drink and a talk with great journalists in the island of old Nestor's Cup. 

 

 

Jean-Marie Colombani

There’s nothing more flattering than being chosen by one’s own colleagues. When you believe in Europe, in its identity, but most of all in its future, there’s nothing more stimulating than being gratified by the journalists of a close and friendly country, Italy.

At last, since I’m Corsican, receiving a gesture of friendship from an other island, Ischia, encourages me; we have a lot of things in common. So, it’s easy to understand how pleased I was to receive the 1999 Ischia Award.

 

Carlo Azeglio Ciampi

The “Premio Ischia” is not an exaltation or promotion of a particular place or a specific region; rather it is an institution which holds a profound meaning for those in the profession of journalism. With the greatest admiration, I congratulate the award winners, and am very pleased by this year’s selections, particularly because this year a foreign journalist has received the international Prize. This choice fully demonstrates that the Italian media has an awareness of being part of an international reality, and a desire for the international press to follow and interest itself in the affairs of Italy, to develop an ongoing and ever-increasing integration throughout the whole of Europe.

 

Giorgio Napolitano

Once again the Premio Ischia Internazionale di Giornalismo presents us with an invaluable opportunity to celebrate and honour the manifold expressions of journalism, both national and international. The prestige the Premio Ischia has acquired is a stimulus to those working in the media, to face journalism’s new challenges independently and critically. To make the news both free and pluralistic, as the guarantee of democracy, dependent not only on the quality of their professional commitment but also on their recognition of the responsibility to represent fully the reality – national, European and international.

 

Indro Montanelli

Winning the Ischia Award gave me a double satisfaction. One, because of the splendid company with which it associated me, that of my predecessors, all top-rate, first-quality colleagues. The other, because it was awarded to me with such grace and fondness that it makes me feel the citizens of Ischia love me. Now, since I have received two Ischia Awards, they have given me a quadruple satisfaction, and in an excess of optimism I even arrive at hoping that it is not over. I know well that the Ischitani have, out of love for me, already broken once the rule which forbids giving the award to someone who has already received it. But, considering that they have already broken it, they might as well do so again, perhaps putting the following variation into the charter: "The repeat award-winner cannot win a third time for the entire first century of his life". Without committing themselves to anything, my Ischia friends would leave me a little gleam of hope. And since they love me almost as much as I love them, I am sure that they will not deny me this.

 

Enzo Biagi

Once I too received the Ischia Prize and was obviously honoured. For me it had a special meaning: it reminded me of the editor I believe I owe the most to, Angelo Rizzoli, known as “ the commenda” by both relatives and employees.

We owe it to this “Martinitt”, this Milanese orphan who, from being typographer boy created a prestigious business of international importance; the promotion of Ischia: he came there by chance and fell in love with it.

I remember a far away stay. Pietro Nenni was also a guest in Lacco Ameno and I, working at Rizzoli was supposed to convince the socialist leader to write his memories. He promised to do so, but we had to settle for his diaries. I hope to chance there again, even though, as a famous German personality said “you should never go back to where you were happy once

 

Eugenio Scalfari

I remember that evening, beautiful and radiant with the all colours of the island, brightened yet more by the faces of so many friends and dear colleagues, in the course of which I was awarded the Premio. One of the very few I have accepted which gave me pleasure to receive. I also remember with great pleasure the lovely music Renzo Arbore played and sang for us all on that festive occasion. These days cheerfulness has become a rather rare commodity. So this evening of yours is most opportune: be happy tonight, as a good omen for the renewal of hope and trust.

 

Sergio Zavoli

You receive the Premio Ischia, I suppose, after a long professional career, a respected one, retiring unscathed with your health and conscience, or vice versa. This is a coveted prize, in part because it is under the judgement, you might say, of a “corporation” that makes no allowances for anyone.  Its leadership, starting from Biagio Agnes, with whom I shared some of the most difficult and the most wonderful of the RAI years, must have had a special touch as the event has seen its reputation continually grow, and today it is the most respected of its kind. I don’t need to say it, having already played this scene, but with Biagio there have never been ‘moments’, only friendship and respect, hard work and…a lot of happiness.

 

Carlo Rossella

In 1996 I won the Premio Ischia. Why? For my “successes” when leading the RAI Tg1 news. The shame was that by then, only a few months later, I no longer worked at RAI. I have to say I accepted the Prize with much joy, but also some regrets. Under the stage lights that evening, I realized I missed broadcasting like a lost lover. And that is why, exactly three years after that Premio Ischia, I returned to television. No longer with RAI but at MEDIASET, the great, marvellous competitor to public television.

Stefano Folli

It’s difficult, no impossible to forget the charm of the Ischia Prize. The splendour of the Island, the atmosphere of the night of the event, everybody’s friendliness. Quite some time has passed since I received the prize, but the memory of it doesn’t fade, it becomes even stronger as only important events do, events that win an undeletable place in our memory. Ischia is an island full of history, its past and present fuse into unexpected shapes and form an extraordinary unity: this is what strikes the imagination making those places a little more enchanted. All in all the real prize consists in being part of this unrepeatable magic. The passionate organizers of the Ischia Prize are especially praiseworthy because they interpret the spirit of the island properly.

Now that we have reached the twentieth anniversary, being part of the list of honour of prize winners is a matter of great satisfaction, I would even say pride. My wish is that the Prize may live many more years as it did the first twenty: I mean with the same atmosphere and the same ability to mingle with the enchantments of the island. Italy has changed and today Europe is closer. Looking down the names of prize winners it is immediately possible to glimpse signs of these changes, signs of the diffusion of a growing sense of Europe . I am certain that the Ischia Prize will carry on being the best testimony of this in the future. Though always remaining faithful to its tradition, in a corner of the Mediterranean which has the gift of eternity within it.

 

Pasquale Nonno

I have a very fond memory of Peppe Valentino. He had a discrete, almost timorous way of making me waste time when I was director of “Il Mattino”, thereby arousing my interest for his creation, the International Ischia Prize for Journalism. Discrete but not without insistence: he knew of my great love for the Island and rightly thought to take advantage of the fact so as to obtain the sort of notice it had never been given before by the great daily in order to let the prize achieve a qualitative leap. The good Peppino’s pressure went much further than his hopes because I turned “IL Mattino” in its proper sponsor thereby making it gather more and more weight until it reached the level of the most important prizes, conquering the attention of the media, especially the RAI TV. At every edition of the prize, Peppino was full of pride: because of the journalists being awarded the prize, because of the names of the members of the jury, because of the compliments paid to the beauty of the Island which he accepted as a tribute to his person.

I deem it fair to commemorate this kind and modest man who worked very hard all year round for the success of “his” prize, even though when the time came for collecting credits and applause he was never there. He’s been gone for a long time now. But it seems only fair to remember him on the twentieth anniversary of the prize. Dear Peppino, it all went well this year too!

 

Giannantonio Stella

Kissed by chance, Biagio Agnes and Milly Carlucci, a few years ago I happened to win the Ischia Prize and I must say I still bless that moment. For two reasons. The first one is that of all the prizes awarded in Italy, where a tourist resort, as Ennio Flaiano said in “solitudine del satiro” , can not be called such if it doesn’t have its own literary or journalist prize, this one is the only one being awarded after an ample survey carried out amongst fellow colleagues. This is equivalent to wearing the Italian national football colours, not because of the whim of the local Valcareggi, but thanks to the direct designation by  the full backs, half backs and centre forward players you played with.

The second reason is that in my many years reporting in the streets, piazzas and narrow lanes of most of Italy, I had (shame on me) never come across Ischia. I took advantage of this to organise a long week-end with my wife in a pretty little hotel in the whereabouts of S. Angelo. The rest was done by the sun, the sea, the spa waters, the mussels, the “spaghetti alla marinara” and a light white wine produced on the island, remembering which…..Prosit.

 

Mario Pendinelli

September 1991.The Gulf War had only just finished. In Ischia to collect a prize, there was also Peter Arnett, the CNN reporter who had followed the Baghdad battle live. At the time the Saddam Hussein adventure appeared as a nightmare blown over by a storm of American missiles. Ischia was certainly the best place to talk about peace. Just a month before in Moscow an attempt to overthrow Gorbachev had failed. The Soviet Empire was dissolving without bloodshed. The enormous Nato apparatus born during the 1917 revolution vanished together with the biggest utopia in history. We were all optimistic in the splendid environment of the prize; the clear blue sky of Ischia seemed very far from the clouds that were already gathering over the Balkans. The Serbs and Croats had sporadic artillery shoot-outs, but we werenít in the mood for a new war. However it was indeed the beginning of a new black page for Europe. Prizes are almost always an occasion for holidays and celebration; the Ischia prize is also an opportunity for reflection. I remember a stimulating conversation with Arnett. For many people in the world of global telecommunication the main event was the minute by minute transmission of bombings on TV. This wasnít completely true: the fact remained war, the crisis of politics after the fall of the old international order.

 

Enrico Mentana

I have also won other prizes undeservedly, but of the Ischia Prize I remember the emotion (For me-I confess- an unfamiliar sensation) I felt when Biagio Agnes phoned to tell me that a survey amongst many of my colleagues had designated me as the television journalist of the year. Because for the first time the Ischia Prize wasn’t being awarded as it normally was by a more or less influential congregation of jury members; it was a referendary indication of the loved-hated journalist category to designate the winners. To be chosen couldn’t but flatter me: you can be an iconoclast and a tease, but when you come down to it, being appreciated by members of your own profession really pleases you….

 

Giulio Andreotti

A silver wedding anniversary, for a family, perhaps more now than previously, marks the arrival of a significant milestone. For a prize, the silver jubilee is a most important event, especially when, as is the case with the Premio Ischia, its stature and relevance are still continuing to grow. The island is closely linked with the memory of Angelo Rizzoli, who fell in love with it and helped make it famous. For certain, he had his own interests in mind, but what he created has undeniably had a wider value. Just as it did in Marzabotto, although the story there was different. Moved by the tragedy of that population slaughtered by the Germans, he rebuilt, and enlarged, the paper mill destroyed during the war. Immediately afterwards the price of paper shot up and the mill repaid him by becoming a good source of profit. This jubilee edition of the Premio Ischia takes place at a difficult and complicated time for the international community, with unresolved old crises, new conflicts opening and daily fears of explosions of violence. If the press and other media are the bearers of concern and sorrow it is certainly not the fault of their journalists. On the contrary, we should praise those who expose themselves to great risks - among them many women - to ensure immediate coverage from the hotspots.

 

Piero Angela

During the hard times of the Soviet regime there was a joke that went like this: “first prize a trip to Moscow. Second prize two trips to Moscow. Third prize three trips to Moscow…”

I believe that when I received the Ischia Prize in 1985, the prize was also and especially the trip to Ischia.

It’s an Island that immediately helps you to understand why Italy is a different country from others. Those who, like me, lived abroad for thirteen years travelling a lot in many countries realize that we own many extraordinary jewels that we don’t appreciate (and bring out) enough.

A prize is always an opportunity to draw sums. About one’s work but also about our profession. Do we really manage to communicate with the public with the right sort of language to help it understand its own time through our job? I’m not sure. In a country where most of the adult population has a school level going from the end of primary school down, we should not only look forwards but also a little further back. Many of the prize winners in the last two decades in Ischia managed to do so without ever compromising the quality of contents.

It is to be hoped that in the crucial next twenty years other journalists will receive the prize for having managed to widen the circle more and to explain the complicated world we live in better.

Enzo Biagi

Once I too received the Ischia Prize and was obviously honoured. For me it had a special meaning: it reminded me of the editor I believe I owe the most to, Angelo Rizzoli, known as “ the commenda” by both relatives and employees. We owe it to this “Martinitt”, this Milanese orphan who, from being typographer boy created a prestigious business of international importance; the promotion of Ischia: he came there by chance and fell in love with it. I remember a far away stay. Pietro Nenni was also a guest in Lacco Ameno and I, working at Rizzoli was supposed to convince the socialist leader to write his memories. He promised to do so, but we had to settle for his diaries. I hope to chance there again, even though, as a famous German personality said “you should never go back to where you were happy once

 

Ferruccio De Bortoli

The Premio Ischia, which it was my honour to receive last year, is a precious occasion which demonstrates that there is no reason for the existence of many of the clichés about our profession. When I saw, on the stage in Lacco Ameno last year, all those colleagues who, so often at the risk of their lives, had covered the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, I was moved by the remembrance of the sacrifice and the passion they had put into each of their reports. And I remembered my colleague Maria Grazia Cutuli who could have been there, Ciriello the photojournalist, Ilaria Alpi (*) and many others. Stardom? Glamour? Well, there may have been some vanity - ours is a profession for the vain - but then how necessary it is to have their type of truthful, professional vanity in a world of globalized media that gives the (false) impression of everything being live! So, the Premio Ischia is this too. But mostly it is the result of the hard work and passion of Biagio Agnes, that great journalist who spares no one, not even, as happened last year, his friends, the most insidious grilling. But a journalist who is not “uncomfortable” to be around is not a journalist; when he is accommodating, at most he will be treated with the formal courtesy reserved for a good butler

 

Mauro Mazza

The Premio Ischia is distinguished by the prestige of those it honours, the commitment of those who organize it and the thorough analysis given to industry themes. The Premio has its two poles: the Lifetime award, the crowning moment of its recipient’s career, and the Youth award, a spur for those starting out in this profession.

 

 

Gaetano Afeltra

One might say that this event was born with a silver spoon in its mouth, blessed as it is by taking place on one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean. Part of the prize in this instance must be finding oneself on Ischia, dazed by its perfumes, and the enchanting panoramas that change at every turn of the paths weaving up its green hills. A joy both to watch and to listen to: in a delightful setting, gorgeous presenters, beautiful models, the latest music all with an air of sophistication that pays homage to the number one “celebration”: news journalism, a form of communication that can overcome all barriers – geographical, political, cultural, mental – to make the universe of newspaper readers into one great community of world citizens.

 

Antonio  Ghirelli

A cool July evening, a huge open-air theatre full of beautiful people, and an island as enchanting and attractive as Ischia - all these in their own right are already an excellent way to spend one’s time but then, as if in some type of Shakespearean mid-summer night’s dream, add to the stage of that theatre some pretty young girls, and austere personalities who at some point announce that the illustrious jury of the twenty fourth edition of the International Prize for Journalism has unanimously conferred on you a special Lifetime award! In that moment you don’t even consider that this is your acceptance into that Pantheon of journalism, I wouldn’t say too late, but very close to the end of the race. But that doesn’t matter, and for this leg you too put on the winner’s pink jersey and run, taking care not to trip, onto the podium, in the footsteps of Montanelli, of Afeltra, of Biagi, of Scalfari, and all the other many champions who have preceded you.

 

Mario Cervi

As my journey, both as a man and as a journalist, has been a very long one, I have received, perhaps undeservedly, more than one professional award. Of all of them, it is the Premio Ischia that has a special place in my memory, and in my heart.  Because it is a serious Award, because it is an honest Award, because it is a prestigious Award, in a country where at times one has the impression that a prize of one sort or another, however motivated, cannot be denied to anyone (as they once said of cigars). Much of the credit for the great integrity of the Premio Ischia goes to its leader, Biagio Agnes: who has no intention of handing out either cigars or prizes to just anybody. Then there is the beauty of Ischia: which gives the Premio not only its name but also an extraordinary setting. Age places me, along with much more important figures, amongst the veterans of the Premio Ischia, which I hope will enjoy many more editions and great success. The same wish for long life in fact that, in moments of optimism, I allow myself.

 

Bruno Vespa

Receiving the Premio Ischia has been for me a great emotion, the like of which I have not felt since 1978 when President of the Republic, Sandro Pertini, presented me with the Saint Vincent award for the television coverage of the dramatic events of that year. Among the many journalism prizes, the “Ischia” has always stood out for the authority and independence of its jury, the rigour with which the selection is conducted and its perfect organization. The few awards that I have received have all come as a surprise and filled me with joy; for this one I am so very grateful to Biagio Agnes and his magnificent collaborators.   

 

Pietro Calabresi

The most wonderful holiday of my life was spent on the “Rondine”, a 24 metre boat belonging to Pietro Ferrandino, the brave Ischian commander. It was the summer of 1991, the first time I saw the island. I returned in 1999, on the evening of 17 July, to be crowned “King, for a night, of the Press”. I was with my wife Barbara and my daughter Costanza, who insists in wanting to continue the family tradition of journalism. An unforgettable evening, for many reasons. The Premio Ischia is not the same as all the rest. The winners are voted for by their colleagues and, given the competition, ending up in first place is not easy. It is the most important award for journalism a chief-editor can receive (the other important Italian prize, the Saint Vincent, cannot be won by chief-editors). It places you by right amongst the most prestigious of the profession. And, last but not least, this prize brings good fortune. On that July night at the end of last century, I realised two or three essential things that made me take some important decisions. I have never regretted them and they have served me well. Thank you, Ischia.   

 

Emanuela Falcetti

There, in front of me, seated in the very first row: my past, the present, my future. Eighteen years of work. For each period, one name, one person. Biagio Agnes, “my” first Director General, and so much television. “My” current director, Zaccaria, with “my” editor at Gr1, Paolo Ruffini. They smile at me and I feel so ordinary: the same sentiment as 18 years ago. And then my future: “my” editor at RaiNews 24: satellite plus internet plus television and radio: the road map for tomorrow’s television. There, in front of me, at the Premio Ischia which, also thanks to them, is now “my” prize.

 

Cristina Parodi

I well remember that joyous weekend on Ischia two years ago. To begin with because I was hugely flattered to receive such a prestigious journalism award for my television work and then because I finally had the opportunity (and what an opportunity!) to set foot on that island which, I confess, I had never visited. I’m not sure which I enjoyed more, being at the centre of that splendid gala evening, or discovering, the next day, all of the beauty, and fascinating colours and panoramic sights of so unique a place. It was in any case a splendid weekend: thanks to this award of which I am so proud, and its marvellous….… setting.

 

Carlo Rossella

Iwon the Ischia Prize in 1996, the reason: my successes as director of TG 1. It’s a pity that at the time I hadn’t worked at the RAI for quite a few months . I accepted the Prize with great joy mixed to a few regrets . Under the spotlights that evening, I realized that television was still in my heart as if I’d broken up with an old girlfriend unwillingly. That’s why exactly three years after winning the prize I have come back to television. No longer with RAI but with MEDIASET, public television’s great and wonderful competitor.

 

Vittorio Feltri

 

Pio Mastrobuoni

Twenty two years have gone by since I was awarded the Premio Ischia for my work as special correspondent for Ansa. An unforgettable event, the memory of which fills my heart with gratitude and nostalgia. Time has flown by; I have stopped working as a journalist and today occupy myself as the vice-president of the Italian Institute for Africa and the East, founded by Giovanni Gentile and Giuseppe Tucci. But if a spell could carry me back in time, I would daydream about reliving that magical evening when I felt the centre of all the attention and warmth of such an extraordinary audience - the sort that only the prestigious and sought- after Premio Ischia could bring together on that warm and welcoming island in the Bay of Naples.

 

Giorgio Bocca

“…they say that being a journalist is better than working. And in fact I do enjoy myself. If this is why they are awarding me the prize, I shall enjoy it all the more...”

 

Frank Cimmini

It was September 1994. I still remember the reason of the prize written on a small piece of paper by the director Pasquale Nonno. I was being given the Ischia Prize for having followed the “clean hands” investigation thereby proving myself to be independent from every authority especially the judicial power. A reason that said it all with simplicity. The Ischia prize is the only joy I ever received for my work on “clean hands”. The reason why stands in that motivation. Independence of judgement has extremely high costs in this country. Especially since I have been the recipient of many lawsuits both criminal and civil from magistrates and their supporters. That’s why for me and the few others who criticized the false revolution, clean hands will never end; because for many years I will have to spend time in law courts answering for those truths I wrote to colleagues of the selfsame people suing me. Last of all I remember devolving the prize money to prisoners from the 70s and 80s thanks to Primo Moroni’s Calusca City Lught association. Primo is no longer with us today. He was one of my masters and I shall never forget him.

orkestra