January 16, 2021

Guillermoprieto warns that the modern world would be impossible without well-financed and respected journalism

Guillermoprieto warns that the modern world would be impossible without well-financed and respected journalism


The Mexican reporter Alma Guillermoprieto, Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities 2018, warned this Friday before the Teatro Campoamor auditorium in Oviedo that the modern world, the intertwined world, would be "impossible" without a powerful, well-financed journalism and respected by governments. "

Full text of the speech of Alma Guillermoprieto

Majesties,

Excmas and Ilmas authorities

Dear Laureates,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

From the day of the strangest awakening of my life, at 4:30 in the morning, with the impossible news that this award was for me, I knew that the Princess of Asturias Foundation is really a weaving center: weaves a network that interweaves French and Spanish, Americans and Poles, Swedes and Mexicans, and through us a little more to the world. This seems to me a great thing, because I am one of those who believe in mathematics: in these times of division, together we are more. So, thank you, Majesties, for this honor, and thanks to all the members of the Princess of Asturias Foundation team, for their diligent and loving help.

From that same day of the announcement of the prize I also knew that in my case I did not have to carry myself alone with this giant award, but that I was given as a reporter that I am, one among many. And I am infinitely happy with this recognition of an office that is only entered with great dreams and illusions: to see the world, to change history, to be heroic. Reality is narrower: little is gained; In these times when the world has entered into a technological, cybernetic and scientific revolution, we have no certainties to rely on and the world wants us badly; we work from sunrise to sunset-although we like that, in fact-there is great confusion as to what our role should be, and in all this, we are the true reflection of society in general. And yet, and because there is so much confusion, we need it.

A world in which the great powers are involved in the decisions of smaller countries, is trafficked with children; the migrants who arrive desperate to our borders are thrown back to the sea or the desert, it is a world in which we need to record these horrors. It is also a world in which we urgently need to prepare ourselves to make terrible ethical decisions: life generated in a laboratory, is it life? Should research be regulated that will lead to the creation of an artificial intelligence superior to the human?

How would you know about these and all the other events and challenges that occur outside of your immediate environment without us, the reporters? Without the means, the world would live in a kind of eleventh century, isolated each one in its hamlet or its castle, just as ignorant the two, convinced that the sirens are as real as the rhinoceroses. Without powerful, well-funded journalism, respected by governments, the modern world, the interlinked world, it would be impossible.

But in this job, it's hard not only to live, but to survive. This year 45 reporters have been killed, because someone did not like what they said about him. A year and a half ago, in Madrid, I was returning to the hotel after the Ortega y Gasset Prize ceremony when they told me that in Mexico, in the city of Culiacán, the cradle of drug trafficking in my country, they had shot my brave, unwavering friend, Javier Valdez. It was as if they extinguished the light of the world. These murders, always unpunished, kill a little not only the victim but all those around him, and of course, that is also the intention. They kill one to intimidate everyone.

However, I am here to say that where one is killed, in the long run two or at least one will emerge. And if before trying to dissuade young people who told me they wanted to be journalists, because the danger is much, because technological changes, because you earn little, because .. oh, why not do something easier and live quietly. Today, however, I tell you, do it, give it to you, because we tell the history of the world every day. Because we record what others want to cover. Because we are the antidote of social networks with its immediacy and its empowerment of rage. Because we need. Because you can see the world, because we can not straighten history, but tell it, be heroic. Because the future of this trade is being invented today by the colleagues who are coming, and you are waiting for a very generous service, which will offer you treasures at every turn.

A boy in an impoverished Brazilian favela who puts on his carnival costume for the first time. A very happy presidential candidate who dances huaynos squeezing very closely a cholita with a miniskirt. A caravan of mothers looking for their missing children in the Mexican desert, year after year. An observatory in the Atacama desert where some men are dedicated to seeing mirrors to measure the size of the universe. A blackened wasteland in the Colombian heights, which hides both guerrillas and an infinite variety of orchids. No other office like this will give you a world, a universe, the whole reality; tragic, embarrassing, stubborn, funny, horrendous, magical. The gift of real, immense and wonderful reality. I thank my office for these forty years of life lived so hard, I thank my colleagues – the reporters on foot, and in particular my beleaguered colleagues in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Mexico, whom I admire so much – and you for listening. Thank you, Majestades

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