MADRID – Spanish King Felipe VI expressed on Thursday his pride in the rigor and vitality in contemporary journalism, and stressed the importance of commitment to democracy and “free press,” a critical component to building a “community that every day gets more just and democratic.”
For the first time since he ascended the throne, the Spanish monarch and his wife, Queen Letizia, presented the King of Spain International Journalism Awards on Thursday to reporters from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Spain and Peru for their distinguished work in various media categories.
The 32nd awards ceremony was held at the Casa del Lector of Madrid, with support from Efe and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation.
In addition to the King of Spain Awards, Peruvian writer Fernando Iwasaki received the 11th Don Quixote Award, sponsored by Tragsa public holding, for an article published in the Chilean newspaper, “El Mercurio.”
In his address during the ceremony, the Spanish monarch referred to the adaptability of journalism to new technologies and “new narrative styles,” especially vital given the “growing importance” of social networks, which have “revolutionized the classical idea of personal and collective communication.”
The king also praised Efe for its continuous process of adapting to changing times, while, for his part, Efe President Jose Antonio Vera highlighted that the hallmark of the agency has always been “a commitment to information,” and said that after it celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, Efe commemorates in 2015 two other milestones.
The year 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of Fundeu, the foundation that standardizes Spanish language in the media, and the 25th of Efeagro, which promotes “rigorous and accurate information about the world of food in Spain.”
Vera said that Efe in part represents the face of Spain and Latin America abroad, adding: “This year we set for ourselves the objective of strengthening our presence in the Asia through services in Arabic and English.”
Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, Secretary-General of International Cooperation Gonzalo Robles, and Ibero-American Secretariat Rebeca Grynspan all took part in the ceremony, which was attended by cultural, political and business figures, along with representatives from the diplomatic corps.
Meanwhile, the Efe president presented the Spanish monarch with a book entitled “Felipe VI: the life of a king in 100 images,” a photographic biography that documents different stages in the king’s life.
The volume, edited by Efe, begins with a photograph of King Felipe VI as he expresses his gratitude to the long, informative path traveled by Efe, while Vera wished the king the best of luck in leading Spain to maintain its deserved role in the world.
Felipe VI handed this year’s awards to Bolivian Roberto Navia Gabriel (Press), Brazilian Domingos Peixoto (Photography), Argentina’s Maria Arce and the Colombian Jose Fernando Lopez (Digital Journalism), Spaniards Margarita Esparza (Radio), Nuria Mejias and Jose Luis Fernandez Cabeza (Environmental Journalism) and Colombian Juan Carlos Iragorri (TV).
A total of 206 works from 18 countries vied for this year’s journalism awards.