MADRID – Spanish news agency EFE and its President Jose Antonio Vera were recognized by the Eisenhower Fellowship and given awards in recognition of their commitment to the defense and promotion of freedom of expression and press.
The director of Spain’s leading national newspaper El Pais and its journalism school also received awards, as well as journalists Fernando Onega and Ana Rosa Quintana.
The Eisenhower fellowship regularly awards entities which they consider to be the most outstanding professionals in Spanish media.
They all received the “First Amendment Award” for their dedication to the defense and promotion of freedom of information, which former United States president Dwight D. Eisenhower greatly valued.
Vera said freedom of information and expression “are not only a democratic obligation and a journalist’s professional ethic, but also, at EFE, it is a founding principle of our jobs every day.”
He said the objective was to transmit “information that must always be rigorous and true.”
Vera received his award from the director of the European Pressphoto Agency, Joerg Schierenbeck, who said EFE was “trustworthy, independent, and objective.”
Vera spoke of journalists that “risk their lives to spread information from the most difficult and dangerous locations, like Syria, Iraq or Ukraine, or to defend freedom of speech and the right to information in countries like Venezuela and Mexico.”
EFE, with its 77 years of history and presence in 200 cities in 120 countries, “would not be what it is without the weight of the Spanish language and Spanish and American cultures,” said Vera, adding that “this is what differentiates EFE from other international agencies.”
Vera highlighted the “great values that we share with the United States and that “Spain and the US had to strengthen their relations now more than ever.”