San Millan de la Cogolla – Rigor, respect and common sense will remain essential to reporting the news "with propriety and precision," Spain's Princess Letizia, a former journalist, said here Wednesday.
The wife of Crown Prince Felipe spoke at the opening of a seminar on Journalism and Politically Correct Language in the northern city of San Millan de la Cogolla.
The event was organized by the Fundeu BBVA and San Millan de la Cogolla foundations.
The opening ceremony also included comments by the president of the La Rioja autonomous region, Pedro Sanz, and the director of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language, Jose Manuel Blecua, and from Agencia Efe CEO Alex Grijelmo and Angel Cano, head of BBVA bank.
Princess Letizia thanked the participants for inviting her and for their strenuous efforts as journalists to find words "that bring us together and put us in the place of the other."
Referring to the theme of the seminar, she noted that while some people contend the aim of politically correct language is to prettify reality, "others will say that kindness, that taking care with words, are not at odds with rigor."
The three-day seminar brings together journalists, linguists, consultants and academics from both sides of the Atlantic to analyze the relationship between journalism's need for precise and accurate language and the increasingly frequent intrusion on journalistic practice by considerations of political correctness.
The head of Efe, Spain's international news agency, likened language to a knife, as it "works to kill and also to slice bread," and he described Fundeu BBVA - which promotes proper Spanish usage in the media - as a "clear example of how politically correct language can serve a better coexistence."
"I am sure the conclusions drawn from this seminar will make us reflect on language and on its capacity to become a weapon that wounds or a tool that helps," Alex Grijelmo said.
Cano, who runs Spain's No. 2 bank, complained of a "growing lack of rigor in the use of economic terms" in reporting on Europe's current financial woes and asked journalists, politicians, business executives and academics to act and speak responsibly.