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Laura Boldrini: from the Code of Conduct for Ethical Journalism to the Chamber of Deputies’ Presidency

Submitted by on March 18, 2013 – 08:00No Comment

Laura BoldriniOn the sec­ond day of the of the sev­en­teenth leg­is­la­ture, Laura Boldrini, jour­nal­ist and for­mer Spokes­woman for the United Nations High Com­mis­sion for Refugees, was elected as Pres­i­dent of the Cham­ber of Deputies, Italy’s Lower House of the Parliament.

She has pre­vi­ously had a long career in inter­na­tional organ­i­sa­tions, mainly work­ing with UN agen­cies for over twenty years – start­ing with the World Food Pro­gramme (WFP) and the Food and Agri­cul­ture Organ­i­sa­tion (FAO), before reach­ing the United Nations High Com­mis­sion for Refugees (UNHCR) in 1998 – and is well-known world­wide as an expert com­men­ta­tor on human rights issues.

A pas­sion­ate advo­cate for migrants’ rights and free­dom of infor­ma­tion, the newly-elected Pres­i­dent Boldrini is also one of the first sig­na­to­ries of our Euro­pean Ini­tia­tive for Media Plu­ral­ism, join­ing our demand to the Euro­pean Insti­tu­tions for the intro­duc­tion of har­monised rules on media own­er­ship and trans­parency in a man­ner that will pre­vent any pub­lic office holder from being in a con­flict of inter­est situation.

Among the first reac­tions to her elec­tion, we asked for some com­ments from:

Roberto Natale, Mem­ber of the Ital­ian Com­mit­tee for the Euro­pean Ini­tia­tive for Media Plu­ral­ism from the very beginning:

«For Ital­ian jour­nal­ism, this elec­tion a has spe­cial mean­ing because it is mostly from the solic­i­ta­tions of Laura Boldrini that a new feel­ing that our infor­ma­tion indus­try has given in recent years to the prob­lems of migrants and refugees was born. The “Char­ter of Rome” – an eth­i­cal and deon­to­log­i­cal code of con­duct for accu­rate infor­ma­tion on migrants adopted in June 2008 by the FNSI (Ital­ian National Press Fed­er­a­tion), the Con­siglio Nazionale dell’Ordine dei Gior­nal­isti (National Coun­cil of the Order of Jour­nal­ists), and the High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees of the United Nations (UNHCR) began to be con­ceived of at the end of 2006, after the mas­sacre of Erba, and fol­low­ing the impres­sive fury that all our media had shown against Azouz Mar­zouk within 24 hours of the dis­cov­ery of a grue­some mur­der case, demon­is­ing the Tunisian man. Inter­pret­ing the con­cerns of a large part of Ital­ian soci­ety (and of quite a few of us jour­nal­ists), Laura Boldrini wrote an open let­ter to the news­pa­pers’ direc­tors and the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Ital­ian jour­nal­ism. The Trade Union I rep­re­sented and the Order of Jour­nal­ists responded to her, and the meet­ings that fol­lowed gave birth to a text that is today one of the main, and most spe­cific, tools of ethics for jour­nal­ists in order to pro­vide exhaus­tive and unbi­ased information.

Laura Boldrini is one of the pure voices from Ital­ian soci­ety that in the most recent years has not been afraid to go against the wind, and to con­tinue to pro­claim the impor­tance of human rights even when it seemed unpop­u­lar. She con­tributed to keep the image of a more civilised and wel­com­ing Italy alive. And, today, she gives a new cred­i­bil­ity to the insti­tu­tions as the head of the Cham­ber of Deputies of the newly-elected Ital­ian Par­lia­ment

Flore Murard-Yovanovitch, French jour­nal­ist spe­cialised on immi­gra­tion issues also sup­port­ing the Euro­pean Ini­tia­tive for Media Plu­ral­ism at the Euro­pean level:

«The inau­gural speech of the newly elected Pres­i­dent of the Cham­ber of Deputies was a beau­ti­ful speech, never heard in those rooms, sim­ply human. Laura Boldrini, refus­ing both to retreat behind the cri­sis and to cede to vague and abstract con­cepts, appointed one by one real human beings: female vic­tims of vio­lence, earth­quake vic­tims, refugees, pris­on­ers, peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, tem­po­rary work­ers, young unem­ployed, income-deprived retirees, … she even found the words to remem­ber the too many name­less dead migrants in the Mediter­ranean Sea… Releas­ing them one by one, she redeemed us all.»

and Vior­ica Nechi­for, a jour­nal­ist of Roman­ian ori­gin in Italy since 1999 and Pres­i­dent of the ANSI (National Asso­ci­a­tion of the Inter­cul­tural Press) also sup­port­ing the Euro­pean Ini­tia­tive for Media Plu­ral­ism at the transna­tional level since 2012:

«With the elec­tion of Laura Boldrini to the pres­i­dency of the Cham­ber of Deputies, there really is some­thing new in the air. I hope that our pol­i­tics may change. In any case, it can only change for the bet­ter. And if the turn­ing point of these weary years will become a real­ity, I could say: “I too voted for this great change”. Because in Jan­u­ary 2013 I swore “to be faith­ful to the Ital­ian Repub­lic and to observe the Con­sti­tu­tion and the laws of the State”. In this spirit, I voted for the first time as an Ital­ian cit­i­zen. Lis­ten­ing to Laura Boldrini’s great speech really moved me. Just as I was moved when I swore to become a cit­i­zen of this coun­try, which is now also my coun­try, for all intents and pur­poses.»

At this point, we really want to join the cho­rus of good wishes to Ms. Boldrini for her new role, hop­ing that this diver­sity of voices and con­vinced expec­ta­tions can be truly reflected in a renewed com­mit­ment from the entire Ital­ian and Euro­pean polit­i­cal land­scapes towards a free and plu­ral­is­tic media truly respected as a fun­da­men­tal pil­lar of the demo­c­ra­tic soci­ety, cen­tral every­where to good gov­er­nance, and a key ele­ment in the trans­for­ma­tion of Italy, a coun­try that has fallen again (57th posi­tion) in the 2013 World Press Free­dom Index, pub­lished by Reporters With­out Borders.

Anna Lode­serto

ECI Organ­iser (Euro­pean Ini­tia­tive for Media Pluralism)

EU Cam­paign Coordinator

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