The president of the Republic

A Significant Achievement

President Ciampi responds to the greetings of the Ischia Award Jury.

It gives me great pleasure to receive you again this year, althou- gh I was very sorry that I was unable to attend the award cere- mony. I do appreciate, Chairman Agnes, your tenacity in inviting
me once again to join you next year for the twenty-fifth anniver- sary of the award.
It is a significant achievement
and I sincerely hope that I will be able to accept the invitation.
As you can understand, it is impossible to know what life has in store for us.You also know how glad I am whenever I come back to Ischia, to the Gulf of Naples, to these places that are particularly dear to me.Having heard the names of the award-winners, I am particularly pleased to see well-known faces as well as young faces, among the winners and the Jury.They inclu- de people I have known and worked with for a long time as well as others whom, until today, I have only had the opportunity to see on television, or whose activities in other fields of information I have been able to appreciate. Among the latter,
I would like to mention the tele- vision newspeople on whom
I recently had the pleasure
of conferring honours (some
of them will be receiving their awards today) for the way in which they fulfilled their difficult task of telling us, day by day, about the events of the war
in Iraq.Some of them are still over there, still busy putting together reports of guerrilla warfare, of terrorism, that senseless terrorism that has unfortunately claimed even illu- strious victims whose thoughts were only of peace.We all hope that an atmosphere of peace, of reconciliation and of progress will soon return to Iraq. The Italian military and civilian personnel sent to that country are carrying on their jobs witha commitment that does them honour, with the desire to help people flourish once again in freedom and democracy.Their presence there is a source of increased preoccupation
and draws our constant attention to the events taking place.It is a thought that I will also
be focusing on during my visit next week to the United States. I believe that the greater the scope of the responsibility of the albeit respecting those of others.
I am not so familiar with others of you, not having met you personal- ly. But there are some faces, such as Alessandro Cecchi Paone, who have often entered my home, even if not physically: television gives us the opportunity to know people without ever meeting them personally.Then I can see some younger people, many of them, to whom I express my sincere best wishes for their work. I know just how much anxiety one feels, in your job just as in any other field of activity, in following a path that has been trodden with such pre- stige, such commitment, by others far older than yourselves, whom you can view as masters. To begin with, choosing a master is, in any case, not only useful but necessary. Perhaps you start by imitating him or her, following in the footsteps of a model, then lit- tle by little you develop your own personality.In particular my wish for the young journalists receiving these awards is that they be aware of the great responsibility that this profession entails. In a democracy, in any democracy, much depends on the quality of information. And the quality of information, at the end of the day, depends on the commitment of the journalist. Yours is a profession that may lead to fame, success and popula- rity. Remember, the way in which you carry on your work is impor- tant, not only for yourselves but also for your readers or listeners, for society as a whole.Always stay true to yourselves, to your ideas, always answer only to your own conscience, to the con- science of your responsibility. Believe me, there is nothing that can make you feel better, at the end of a particularly exhausting day, than to be able to say to yourself: “I’m so tired, but I feel at peace with my conscience”.