Scan Magazine, Issue 90, July 2016

Page 66

Scan Magazine  |  Business  |  Keynote

Scan Business Keynote 66 | Enterprise Denmark 67 | Conference of the Month 74 | Business Calendar 76

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Honour the pen By Steve Flinders

During a visit to Milan recently, I was impressed and rather moved to discover a park close to the centre named after a leading Italian journalist, Indro Montanelli, who died in 2001. You can see his statue close to the spot where the Red Brigade shot him in the legs in 1977. He was a fearless writer and a courageous man – he was also sentenced to death by the Germans in the war. He was independent and cussed: when the ownership of Corriere della Sera became too authoritarian, he quit and started his own newspaper, Il Giornale, in 1973. His was an extraordinary life. Does the UK honour its journalists in such a way? Do the likes of William Russell, The Times correspondent who covered the Crimean War; Walter Bagehot, an editor of The Economist; C. P. Scott, the great editor and owner of The Manchester Guardian; or George Orwell, journalist and author of 1984, simply have to make do with a blue plaque somewhere? I cannot recall any major public places named after a journalist in Scandinavia either, although readers should correct me if I am wrong. In Malta, where I live, there is a children’s playground named after a Times of Malta cartoonist. 66  |  Issue 90  |  July 2016

I applaud the Italian example. Journalists today are under attack – more often than not by governments who, like the President of Egypt, think that the maxim ‘don’t listen to anyone but me’ is best. In China, Russia, Turkey and the Philippines, to name just a few, journalists can be subjected to arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, torture and murder. In Bangladesh they may be hacked to death by fanatics. We must honour the pen loudly and vigorously as Italy does, and proclaim the work of those who wield the pen to protect our freedoms.

The Montanelli statue in Milan.

Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally: steveflind@aol.com.


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