Full speech by His Majesty the King at the Vanguardia Awards ceremony:
It is a pleasure for the Queen and for me to be back in Barcelona and preside over and share with everyone present an event like this in which, in addition to handing out well-deserved awards for excellence, it is celebrated another anniversary of La Vanguardia, a newspaper that has traveled over the course of three centuries, with enormous vocation, perseverance and conviction, reporting on everything that was happening in the world.
Founded in 1881 by Carlos and Bartolomé Godó, it is an example of a media that from the first day assumed independence of criteria, plurality of opinion and rigor of content as principles. And it has had and has a deep European vocation. It is enough to consult his newspaper archive to learn, for example, that already in World War I, he had sent correspondents to the two sides in conflict in order to present chronicles of both, in a clear search for equanimity.
Currently, the newspaper maintains a network of correspondents in the main European capitals, a guarantee of direct, committed and first-hand information, which is, without a doubt, highly valued by its readers.
La Vanguardia is a media that has adapted to the great changes that journalism has experienced, both in the field of content and technology. What's more, he was a pioneer in having a website to disseminate news thanks to the global communication that the Internet promoted in the final stretch of the 20th century. We congratulate you for having been a reference among paper newspapers, and for your great dissemination and leadership capacity in the digital world.
You have achieved all this by being faithful to values transmitted generation after generation. Not in vain, from day one, La Vanguardia has belonged to the Godó family, which has known how to safeguard its founding principles.
Likewise, I want to take advantage of the occasion on this platform to once again highlight the importance – and the need – of good journalism for the health of democracy.
We live in uncertain times in which the truth - despite having the greatest volume of information and in the quickest or most immediate way - seems to find it difficult to make its way. For this reason, free journalism committed to the truth - with rigor in its search - and with the values that make up our democratic society is more essential than ever; a journalism that remains firm in the face of any type of pressure that may arise.
Free societies need good journalism: serious, analytical and reflective and this can only flourish in freedom. Let us always remember it; and let us remain demanding as a society when it comes to recognizing and facilitating the work of the press in its contribution to the democratic quality of Spanish society, promoting public debate, promoting responsible public opinion and, ultimately, helping to build a more supportive and with deep civic convictions.
And at this point I would like to encourage all of you who are part of this more than centenary newspaper to continue contributing with your professional demands to maintain your commitment to these principles and values as a guarantee of that better future.
The Queen and I, dear Javier – and everyone at La Vanguardia −, we congratulate you on those 142 years of service to society. And today, especially, for the creation of these awards that we have just presented and that recognize the ability to innovate in the world of business, science, culture or sports. Recognizing this capacity also means valuing the effort, potential, and initiative of those who also try to improve society through their actions. The jury has awarded them to people who make us proud as Spaniards and who are great examples in their different disciplines and fields of action. Congratulations to all the winners.
Furthermore, and finally, I am glad that you have had the special sensitivity to remember and highlight the determining role played by two great Catalans, two great Spaniards in our recent history, such as Juan Antonio Samaranch and Josep Piqué. His inspiring legacy of service, of love for his land and his country, accompany us at all times. Our memory today is also for them.