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Ortega y Gasset journalism awards celebrate social reporting

King Felipe VI presides gala event that coincides with 40th anniversary of the foundation of EL PAÍS

King Felipe VI chats with PRISA CEO Juan Luis Cebrián at the award dinner.
King Felipe VI chats with PRISA CEO Juan Luis Cebrián at the award dinner.ULY MARTÍN

EL PAÍS handed out the 33rd Ortega y Gasset Journalism Awards on Thursday at an emotional ceremony presided by the Spanish king and queen.

The event coincided with the newspaper’s 40th anniversary celebrations, which are taking place in Madrid.

Felipe VI handed out the prizes together with Doña Letizia and Juan Luis Cebrián, CEO of the PRISA Group and the first editor-in-chief that EL PAÍS ever had.

The Ortega y Gasset awards symbolize the highest values of European culture

Adam Michnik, editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza

In his keynote address, the Spanish monarch underscored that the newspaper has been “a witness and a recorder of all the great events and transformations experienced by our society in the last few decades.”

Invoking the names of EL PAÍS founders José Ortega Spottorno, Jesús Polanco and Juan Luis Cebrián, the king thanked the newspaper for its “professional, intellectual and social commitment” and noted the “role of protagonist” it played in the transformation of Spanish society from a dictatorship into a democracy “integrated into Europe and with a voice of its own in the world.”

Around 400 guests attended the event, including many political, business and cultural leaders. Prominent figures included acting Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena, Congressional Speaker Patxi López and several ministers of the caretaker government. The heads of the Socialist Party, Ciudadanos, Podemos and United Left were also on hand.

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It marked the first time that Felipe VI and Letizia had attended an Ortega y Gasset award ceremony. In 2001, Felipe’s father Juan Carlos, then on the throne, presided the event with Queen Sofia.

The winners of this year’s awards are Peruvian journalist Joseph Zárate for his story of a peasant woman’s fight against a mining company, Lilia Saúl and Ginna Morelo for their joint multimedia feature on missing people in Mexico and Colombia, Samuel Aranda for his photograph of a refugee struggling in the water with a child in her arms on the coast of Lesbos, and Adam Michnik, editor-in-chief of Poland’s largest newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, for his defense of democracy and freedom of expression.

“The Ortega y Gasset awards symbolize the highest values of European culture,” said Michnik, speaking for all the winners. “That is why receiving these prizes are a great honor for each and every one of us.”

English version by Susana Urra.

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