Show Without Shocking
01 February 2005
OUEST FRANCE, France’s leading circulation daily, can attribute its success to its ethical policy, maintains Didier Pillet, its Editor-inChief.
OUEST FRANCE, France’s leading circulation daily, can attribute its success to its ethical policy, maintains Didier Pillet, its Editor-inChief. Pillet was addressing a recent conference of the International Communications Forum in Le Touquet, France.
The paper does not print pictures showing suffering on people’s faces, nor ones of people in handcuffs or other embarrassing situations. All material is checked against the standards of ‘say without prejudice’, ‘show without shocking’, ‘witness without aggressing’, and ‘denounce without condemning’. The paper is the only French paper whose readership is growing.
British journalists led a session on ‘The BBC and the Hutton Report’ chaired by Times columnist Magnus Linklater. Other subjects included: ‘Is the media a threat to family life?’ and ‘The media and Islam’. Participants came from France, Lebanon, Belgium, Switzerland, Ghana, Portugal and Great Britain.
SAMOANS CHALLENGE CORRUPTION
THE PRIME Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, opened an international IofC conference in Samoa in October. He spoke of his government’s efforts ‘to bring integrity to the business of government’. ‘We have been guided by the knowledge that without applying the principles of good governance we could not hope to achieve sustainable development ,’ he said.
‘In the world of corruption, the most endangered species is an honest man/woman,’ said Ulamanaia Faaiu Sialaoa, Principle Immigration Officer. He was followed by Joses Tuhanuku MP from the Solomon Islands, who spelled out how corruption, the coup in 2000 and ethnic tension had brought his country to its knees.
Sessions on ‘the family as peace-maker’ and ‘partnership of races’ brought out personal experiences. Walda Blow, an Aboriginal Australian, spoke movingly of the history of her people at the hands of White Australia, ‘I am not bitter,’ she said. ‘I don’t want guilt trips but to learn to forgive, work in partnership and make sure history never repeats itself again.’
RUSSIAN RELIGIONS MEET
REPRESENTATIVES OF Russia’s Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist communities took part in a conference on religious tolerance at the Europe Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in November. It was initiated by Anatoly Krasikov, a member of the Advisory Council of IofC’s Agenda for Reconciliation programme.
Speakers included the co-chairmen of the combined working group on relations between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches of Russia, Fr Igor Vyzhanov (Orthodox) and Fr Igor Kovalevsky (Catholic); the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Adolf Shayevich; and a representative of Russia’s Buddhists, Sanjay Lama. ‘The problem of tolerance is not new,’ Shayevich told the conference. ‘Only together can we create a normal world for all people to live in, regardless of their ethnic origin and religious views.’ The President of Russia’s Council of Muftis, Sheikh Ravil Gainutdin, sent a written message condemning terrorism.
‘We must all give an example of openness, dialogue and tolerance, remembering that Earth is the common home of us all,’ said the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Russia, Archbishop Thaddaeus Kondrusevich.
THE THIRD of a series of ‘high level encounters’ between the World Council of Churches (WCC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank took place in Geneva last October. It was moderated by Cornelio Sommaruga, President of Initiatives of Change International.
‘Our object is not to draw up battle lines between financial pragmatism and some pious form of other-worldly idealism, but to search for viable pathways towards global justice,’ said Samuel Kobia, the General Secretary of the WCC, welcoming James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank Group, Agustin Carstens, Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, and WCC President Agnes Abuom.
Agnes Abuom quoted a Russian philosopher, ‘My own bread is a material question for me, the bread of the other is a spiritual question.’ The world’s economic gulf cannot be bridged by economists’ tools, she said. We need the tools of ethics and the teaching of ‘love one’s neighbour’.
In his concluding remarks Sommaruga reminded the audience not to forget the 1.2 billion people who live in extreme poverty and under the threat of HIV/Aids. He stressed the important role of women, youth and minorities, as well as community development programmes, and good governance including the fight against corruption.
PEOPLE REPRESENTING the three corners of the Atlantic slave trade triangle gathered recently on the dockside in Liverpool, where many of the slave ships were built. The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Frank Roderick, presented reconciliation sculptures to an official delegation from Benin, led by the Minister for Housing, Urbanism and Environment, and Tee Turner, a representative of the city of Richmond, Virginia, in the US. Designed by Liverpool artist Stephen Broadbent together with school students, the sculptures—which will stand in Liverpool, Benin and Richmond—include the words: ‘Acknowledge and forgive the past. Embrace the present. Shape a future of reconciliation and justice.’
The Leader of Liverpool City Council, Mike Storey, said that when, as its final act of the last millennium, the city had apologized for its role in the slave trade, this had been ‘linked to a commitment to policies that would end racism and exclusion in the city and society as a whole’.
There are plans for a sustained programme of exchanges and educational initiatives between the three points of the renamed ‘reconciliation triangle’.