International Federation of Journalists’ leaders attended this morning the opening of the 27th national congress of IFJ Italian affiliate member, the Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana, held in Chianciano Terme, in Toscany, on the theme «Giornalismo, attore di futuro» (Journalism as actor in the future.)
After seven years as president of the federation and six as its general secretary, Franco Siddi addressed over 400 delegates from branches across Italy and moved a poignant homage to the two Italian journalists, Simone Camilli et Andrea Rocchelli, who were murdered in 2014 in Gaza and in the Ukraine.
During the moving ceremony at the onset of congress, Simone’s father, Pier Luigi Camilli, spoke about the commitment of his son to journalism and the sacrifice he made because he believed in the purpose and mission of journalism. Both him and the president of the Emily-Romani branch of journalists, Serena Bersani, brought the audience to its feet as they honoured the memories of the two felled colleagues.
Recalling how the Italian federation responded to the murders at Charlie Hebdo by marching shoulder to shoulder with their French colleagues in Paris on the unity march and rally on January 11th, Siddi described the massive event where he represented his union. « We marched with other sister unions behind the banners of our French colleagues and the International Federation of Journalists. These murders were an act against press freedom and our union contributed €5000 to the fund launched by the IFJ to help the victims’ familes. »
Replying on behalf of the French union, Mario Guastoni, member of the leadership of the French union Syndicat national des journalists (SNJ,) warmly thanked Italian journalists for their remarkable show of solidarity and their unstinting commitment over the years to journalists and journalism.
IFJ President Jim Boumelha paid tribute to the indefatigable work of Franco Siddi and his union and activists for the cause of journalists all over the world. « You must be proud of the solidarity that your union expresses on every occasion to journalists in need. Last year 118 journalists were murdered all over the world. Your stand today shows the way we must always remember the common thread among the colleagues of so many different backgrounds, from such different cultures, who have died for journalism. We must never forget their strong conviction that they belonged to an honourable profession dedicated to truth and sustained by a sense of common good and the achievements of other journalists. We will continue to honour them by keeping faith with their best aspirations. In their names we can and should do more to find ways of making journalism safer. » he said.
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The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries