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Paolo Borrometi acceptance speech (English translation)

Dear friends,

I’m really thrilled about the important award you have given me today. It is the culmination of a dream put to the test by so much isolation, which was broken only by the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, when shortly after his election he conferred upon me, on his own intiative, the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

I can’t help thinking about where I come from and what suffering I experienced.

The aggression that forces me to live today with an impaired shoulder; then the attempt to burn my house; the many court trials over the threats to me by the mafia clans; and lastly the attack discovered by the police and magistrates in April 2018. I am alive thanks to them. It is incredible that a journalist must suffer all this to tell the story.

For these reasons I am even prouder today to receive the Mackler award, which bears the name of a great journalist who, in recent months, I have studied in depth and whom I have learned to esteem and love.

I thank all of you.  Catherine first of all, then Reporters Without Borders, CUNY, all the partners of the Award, and my colleagues. Allow me to thank also the Italian authorities present, including the Consul General, and Dr. Aceti. And my friends who, though not here physically, have dried my tears and supported me in the darkest moments. And finally, my father, present here today.

My family, my father and my mother, lived with me through my many sufferings and my immense fear.

I’m afraid of dying, it’s true. I don’t know if I will ever have a family, or children. But I dreamed of being a journalist, I defend this dream and I am a journalist.

I never ask myself what my byline on an investigation will mean in terms of new dangers. I rather demand of myself that it respect all journalistic standards and that it be useful for those who read us: our only employers are our readers.

I love this job, I love free journalism. Just as I loved two journalists, to whom I dedicate this award: Daphne Caruana Galicia and Antonio Megalizzi, dead but immortal in their journalistic example.

In your Declaration of Independence it is written “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

To the young people who, in schools, ask me if I have lost my freedom, I always answer that ‘Yes, it is true, I have lost some of my physical freedom. But I have preserved the most important freedom, which is simply to perform my duty, to be free to think and act, to be free to dream.’

This is happiness for me.

You represent happiness for me today.

I thank you with all my heart.