Rome -- (Italy) Ettore Bernabei at the RUI

Ettore Bernabei, one of the best-known Italian television personalities, gave a talk to students at the RUI university residence (Residenza Universitaria Internazionale) on October 23.

“It is possible to make good television programs.” That, in synthesis, was the message of the former general director of RAI (Radiotelevision Italiana) and president of the LuxVide production company in his talk. Bernabei explained that television companies arose as public entities in Europe and as commercial companies in America; he said that the gradual predominance of the commercial model throughout the world, with the resulting imposition, on the part of the producers, of programs without any ethical values in order to avoid distracting attention from the commercials, has led to a relativistic television, incapable of presenting reality as the work of a Creator.

Despite the difficulties involved, however, it is still possible to offer quality products, Bernabei insisted. By way of example, he pointed to two cases in which Italian television had managed to unite high cultural and ethical content with unquestionable popular success: a lecture on the last canto of Dante’s Paradiso by the actor Roberto Benigni and a dramatic program on Pope John XXIII produced by Lux Vide itself, which a few years after its showing continues to hold the record for audience size in Italy in its genre.

The future is promising, he said, because the public has matured and no longer lets itself be seduced by “tele-garbage.” Thanks to new technology, it is the spectator himself who can now choose the programs he wants. More than being concerned about the creation of “aqueducts” (television companies), one should be concerned about the production of “good water” (good programs): water that will later flow through television, the internet, mobile telephones, etc.

Bernabei encouraged the students at RUI to confront seriously the cultural and religious problems of today’s society, and he emphasized in particular the need for a solid professional preparation in order to be able to produce worthwhile and attractive programs.

Romana, No. 43, July-December 2006, p. 244-245.

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