Vatican City, 18 January 2014 (VIS) – This morning, on the ninetieth anniversary of the beginning of radio transmissions and sixty years after the first television broadcasts by the RAI (the Italian state broadcasting company), its representatives were received in audience by the Pope who gave an address on the value and needs of the public information service.
The Holy Father commented that the collaboration between the Holy See and the RAI has made it possible for Italians to have access over the years first to the words, then also images of the Pope and events in the life of the Church, through the work of two Vatican entities, Vatican Radio and the Vatican Television Centre. He mentioned a number of events, including Vatican Council II, the election of the pontiffs, the Jubilee 2000 and the funeral of Blessed John Paul II. He also recalled a number of productions of a religious nature by the RAI during the 1960s and 1970s, such as the film “Francis” by Liliana Cavani (1966) and “The Acts of the Apostles” by Roberto Rossellini (1969), who collaborated with the future cardinal archbishop of Milan, then Fr. Carlo Maria Martini S.J.
The RAI, he said, “has been a witness to processes of change in Italian society in its rapid transformations, and has contributed in a special way to the process of linguistic and cultural unification in Italy. … But recalling a past rich in conquests requires of us a renewed sense of responsibility for today and for tomorrow. I remind you all that your profession is not only informative but also formative; it is a public service, that is, a service for the common good. A service to truth, a service to goodness, and a service to beauty. All the professions that form the RAI … belong to an organisation that offers culture and entertainment, information and shows, reaching a significant part of the Italian people at any time of the day. It is a responsibility from which those who offer a public service may not abdicate”.
Finally, the ethical quality of communication “is the result, in the final analysis, of consciences that are always attentive, never superficial, and always respectful towards others, both those who are the object of the information, and those who are intended to receive the messages. Everyone, in his own role and with his own responsibility, must be mindful to maintain high ethical standards in communication, and to avoid those things that can cause so much damage: disinformation, defamation, and calumny”.
Pope Francis concluded by encouraging the professionals in the field of communications to place themselves “at the service of the human, cultural and civil growth of society”.