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2016年3月11日星期五

杨继绳:答谢词


http://nieman.harvard.edu/awards/louis-lyons-award/yang-jisheng-speech-transcript

答谢词
杨继绳
感谢评委会将 2016 年度的新闻良知与正义奖授给我。良知与正义这两个词的份量很
重,加在我身上我承受不起。我只能当作对我的激励和鞭策。
尼曼人都是杰出的记者。我是很热爱记者这个职业的。我在这个岗位上摔打四十多
年,据我的体验和观察,我是这样评价记者这个职业的:

这是一个卑鄙的职业,这个职业可以混淆是非,颠倒黑白,制造弥天大
谎,欺骗亿万受众;这是一个崇高的职业,这个职业可以针砭时弊、揭露黑
暗、鞭挞邪恶、为民请命,担起社会良心的重责。
这是一个平庸的职业,回避矛盾,不问是非,明哲保身,甘当权势的喉
舌;这是一个神圣的职业,胸怀天下,思虑千载,批评时政,监督政府,沟
通社会,使媒体成为立法、司法、行政之外的第四权力。
这是一个浅薄的职业,只要能够写出通顺的记叙文,不需要多少学识,
不需要卓越的见解,听话顺从,就能如鱼得水;这是一个深不可测的职业,
记者不是专业学者,他需要从整体上研究社会、把握社会,无论有多么渊博
的学识、有多么卓越的洞察力,在复杂多变的社会面前,都会感到学力不
足,力不从心。
这是一个舒适而安全的职业,出入于宫阙楼台,行走于权力中枢,灯红
酒绿的招待会、歌舞升平的庆典,访大官,见要人,春风得意,风光无限。
如果用文章与权势投桃报李,今日的书生可能是明日的高官,今日穷酸可能
是明日的富豪;这是一个艰难而危险的职业,且不谈穿梭于枪林弹雨中的战
地记者,就是在和平环境中,调查研究,探求真相,跋山涉水,阻力重重,
除暴揭黑,千难万险。一旦触及到权势集团的痛处,不测之祸从天而降。
是卑鄙还是崇高、是平庸还是神圣、是浅薄还是高深,在于从业者本人
的良知、人格和价值取向。真正的职业记者会选择崇高、神圣、深刻、凶
险,鄙视和远离卑鄙、平庸、浅薄、舒适。

然而,在卑鄙与崇高、平庸与神圣之间,没有鸿沟、没有高墙,黑白之
道,全凭自己把握。如果一脚踏进了黑道,就会被钉在历史的耻辱柱上,自
己写的白纸黑字,是永远抹不掉的证据。"卑鄙是卑鄙者的通行证,高尚是高
尚者的墓志铭"这条黑色定律在记者职场十分盛行。要不被这一黑律逼向卑鄙
之路,就得无所畏惧,勇于献身。

这也是我对新闻良知与正义的理解。
要当一名坚持良知与正义的记者是有风险的。我在给新闻专业学生讲课时传授了一个
避险秘诀:"一无所求,二无所惧,自立于天地之间。"无所求,就是不求升官、发财;
无所惧,就是检点自己的行为,不留"辫子"被人抓;不依附权贵、靠自己的人格和专业
独立于世。有了这三条,风险就小多了。
改革开放以来,中国出现了很多坚持良知与正义的记者。在巨大的阻力面前,他们报
道真相,鞭挞邪恶,推动着中国社会前进。他们没有出席今天的盛会,应当分享这个盛会
给予的荣誉。

退休了,不能做新闻记者了,我就当"旧闻记者"——从事历史写作。昨日的新闻是今
日的历史。新闻和历史的共同点就是信,即真实可信。信,是新闻和历史的生命。中国史
家历来重视史德:忠于史实,善恶必书,书必直言。以直书为己任,以曲笔为耻辱的史
家,几乎代有其人。为保持史家的节操,许多人不惜以生命为代价。在中国史家的精神影
响下,我记录了我所经历的重大事件:大饥荒,文化大革命,改革开放。我们不仅要记住
美好,也要记住罪恶,不仅要记住光明,也要记住黑暗。让人们记住人祸、黑暗和罪恶,
是为了今后远离人祸、黑暗和罪恶。《墓碑》这本书记录了一场持续数年的惨烈人祸。虽然
它只能在香港出版,是大陆的禁书,但是,追求真相的人们,通过种种渠道、种种方式,
在大陆广为传播,从中原腹地到云贵高原到新疆边塞,都不时有盗版《墓碑》销售。来自
全国各地的大量读者来信,给我以我坚定而热情地支持。这说明,真相有强大的穿透力,
它可以冲破行政权力构筑的铜墙铁壁!
真相是威力强大的炸弹,它会将谎言炸得粉碎;真相是夜空的灯塔,它会照亮前进的
道路;真相是检验真理的试金石,没有真相就没有真理。
记者,就是真相的记录者、挖掘者和保卫者。
最后,让我和大家一起,为记者职业祈愿:愿良知和正义的阳光照亮千万个记者、作
家的书桌!愿更多的作品唤醒人类的良知,让正义之光普照地球的每一个角落!
2016年3月10日

Yang Jisheng Speech Transcript
Read Yang Jisheng's speech in Chinese (pdf)
I thank the Nieman class of 2016 for giving me the Louis M. Lyons Award for
Conscience and Integrity in Journalism. I feel overwhelmed by the weight
of the
words "conscience" and "integrity," but they serve to encourage and
spur me on.
The Nieman fellows are all distinguished journalists. I fervently love the
profession of journalism. After more than forty years of being tempered in
this
position, and based on my experience and observation, this is how I evaluate
journalism as a profession:
This is a despicable profession that can confuse right and wrong, reverse
black and
white, manufacture monstrous falsehoods and dupe an audience of millions.
This is a noble profession that can point out the ills of our times,
uncover the
darkness, castigate evil, advocate for the people and take on the
responsibility of
social conscience.
This is a banal profession that evades conflict, ignores questions of
right or
wrong, plays it safe and willingly serves as a mouthpiece of the powerful.

This is a sacred profession that cherishes all under heaven, contemplates
eternal
questions, criticizes the political situation, monitors the government,
communicates
with society and makes the news media the Fourth Estate.
This is a shallow profession that anyone can take on, requiring only the
ability to
write a coherent narrative and a minimum of knowledge, demanding no brilliant
insights but only obedience and submission.
This is an unfathomable profession; while journalists are not scholars,
they're
required to study and gain a comprehensive grasp of society. Any
journalist, no
matter how erudite and insightful, will feel unequal to the task of
decoding this
complex and ever-changing society.
This is a safe and comfortable profession that gives journalists access to
palace
balconies and the corridors of power, that lets them attend lavish
receptions and
gala celebrations, interview important officials and meet the rich and
famous, ride
the crest of success and enjoy limitless fame. Journalists can barter
their essays
and influence into positions of power and wealth.
This is a difficult and dangerous profession. Quite apart from war
correspondents
who spend their time dodging hails of bullets, even in a peacetime,
investigating
and searching for the truth involves arduous journeys and immense
obstacles in the
war against tyranny and evil. A journalist who touches a sore spot of the
power
establishment brings disaster upon his or her head.
This is a profession that is despicable and noble, banal and sacred,
shallow and
profound, all depending on the conscience, character and values of the
individual
journalist. The truly professional journalist will choose the noble, sacred,
profound and perilous, and remain aloof from the despicable, mundane,
shallow and
comfortable.
But there is no chasm, wall or pathway that demarcates the despicable from
the noble
or the banal from the sacred; all of this is left to the journalist to
discern. A
journalist who takes the pathway of darkness will be nailed to history's
pillar of
shame, his own words used as indelible evidence against him. "Debasement
is the
password of the base, Nobility the epitaph of the noble." 1 This mordant
credo, very
much in vogue in the journalistic profession, can make a journalist veer
onto the
road of dishonor unless he forges on toward heroic self-sacrifice.  This
is my understanding of conscience and integrity in journalism.  Insisting
on being a journalist with conscience and integrity carries risks. When
giving a lecture to a class of journalism students, I passed along a tip for
avoiding danger: "Ask for nothing and fear nothing, and position yourself
between
heaven and earth." By asking for nothing I mean not hoping for promotion
or wealth;
by fearing nothing I mean examining one's own behavior and not exposing a
"pigtail"
for anyone to grab. Don't rely on the powerful, but rather on your own
character and
professional independence. These three methods greatly reduce risk.  Since
China embarked on Reform and Opening, many journalists of conscience and
integrity have emerged. In the face of enormous impediments they've
reported the
truth, chastised evil and moved Chinese society forward. They aren't
attending this
ceremony tonight, but they should share in its honor.
I've retired now and can no longer work as a journalist, so I write
historical works
as a "journalist of past events." Yesterday's news is today's history.
What news and
history have in common is that both must be true and credible. Credibility
is the
lifeblood of both news and history. China's historians have always put an
emphasis
on the ethics of history: fidelity to unvarnished historical fact, both
positive and
negative. Every age has included historians who consider it their
responsibility to
provide an honest record, and who consider distortion a disgrace. Many
historians
have preserved their moral integrity at the cost of their lives.
Influenced by the
spirit of China's historians, I've recorded major events that I
personally
experienced: the Great Famine, the Cultural Revolution, Reform and
Opening. We must
remember not only the good things, but also the bad; not only the
brightness, but
also the darkness. I want people to remember man-made disaster, darkness
and evil so
they will distance themselves from man-made disaster, darkness and evil
from now on.

My book Tombstone recorded a horrific man-made disaster that lasted for
several
years. Although it could only be published in Hong Kong and remains banned
in China,
truth-loving people have found various means and channels to distribute it
throughout mainland China. Pirated editions of Tombstone are being sold
from the
hinterlands of the Central Plains to the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau to the
Xinjiang
frontier. I've received letters from readers all over China expressing
their fervent
and unwavering support. This shows the power of truth to break through the
bronze
walls and iron ramparts constructed by the government.
Fact is a powerful bomb that blasts lies to smithereens. Fact is a beacon
in the
night that lights the road of progress. Fact is the touchstone of truth;
there can
be no truth without facts.
Journalists are the recorders, excavators and defenders of truth.  Finally
I would like to join with all of you in this prayer for the journalistic
profession: May the sunlight of conscience and integrity shine upon the
desks of all
journalists and writers. May more works be published that awaken the
conscience of
humanity and allow the light of justice to shine on every corner of the
earth.
Translated by Stacy Mosher
1This line is from the poem "The Answer" by Bei Dao, translated by
Bonnie S.
McDougall from The August Sleepwalker. Bei Dao wrote the poem while
participating in
the 1976 Tiananmen demonstrations.


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