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Journalists from 7 Countries Receive King of Spain Journalism Prizes

MADRID – Journalists from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Spain, the United States, Mexico and Nicaragua received King of Spain International Journalism Prizes on Tuesday from King Juan Carlos in recognition of their investigative and human interest reporting.

The Spanish monarch handed out the prizes, which are organized by Agencia EFE and Spain’s State Secretariat for International Cooperation and Ibero-America under the sponsorship of Spanish construction and infrastructure company OHL, at Madrid’s Casa del Lector.

King Juan Carlos said in his address that “rigorous and serious” journalism was essential because the work of a quality press “is not just key for informing citizens, but it also contributes to strengthening coexistence and democracy” in society.

The Spanish monarch praised the “long role” that Agencia EFE has played in “contributing to the essential structure of reporting” in Spain and making the rest of the world aware of the evolution and transformation of this country.

Agencia EFE President Jose Antonio Vera, for his part, said the agency’s commitment to news had made it “a global information model,” and he added that the King of Spain awards were seen “by many of our colleagues on the other side of the Atlantic as the Pulitzers of Latino journalism.”

Spanish journalist Jose Maria Irujo was honored in the Press category for his story in Madrid daily El Pais on the 1980 murder of Yolanda Gonzalez by right-wing extremists.

Pedro Armestre, a Spanish freelancer, won the Photojournalism prize for a widely published image of last year’s running of the bulls in Pamplona.

Univision, the dominant Spanish-language television network in the United States, received the prize in the Television category for “El gran encuentro,” a pair of September 2012 forums hosted by Lourdes Torres with President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

The Radio prize was given to Brazilians Renata Borges Colombo and Fabio Almeida for a six-month series about illegal dredging in a river.

The Environmental Journalism prize went to Octavio Enriquez of Nicaragua’s Channel 12 television for an investigation of illegal logging in the Central American nation.

Fernando Guillermo Irigaray won the Digital Journalism award for his interactive documentary about the growth of drug trafficking in the Argentine city of Rosario.

Each of the prizes, sponsored by Spanish construction giant OHL, comes with 6,000 euros (about $8,330) and a bronze sculpture designed by Joaquin Vaquero Turcios.

The Environmental Journalism prize is sponsored by the Aquae Foundation.

The Don Quixote Journalism Prize was given to Spain’s Martina Bastos Andreu for a February 2013 magazine piece on the significance of rain in the culture, language and everyday life of the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia.

Bastos Andreu received a cash award of 9,000 euros ($12,260) from sponsor Tragsa.

Special mentions were handed out for the first time this year, with Colombia’s Juan Carlos Iragorri and Mexico’s Jesus Peña Sanchez being honored in a ceremony at Agencia EFE headquarters on Monday.

Iragorri received special mention in the Television category, while Sanchez was honored as part of the Don Quixote Journalism Prize competition.

The 31st King of Spain International Journalism Prizes jury, which was chaired by Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America Jesus Gracia, with Vera as vice chairman, considered 176 works from 19 countries for the prizes.

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