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Speech of H.M. the King in the Inauguration of the II News Agencies World Congress

Málaga(Estepona), 24.10.2007

I

am very grateful for the kind invitation received to open, in this very friendly city of Estepona, the Second World Congress of News Agencies. Thank you as well for the attentive words addressed to us.

I would like to give, together with the Queen, our most warm welcome to Spain to all Agencies and personalities from abroad taking part in it. We are very pleased to be able to meet all of you.

I am sure that you will find among this bright and welcoming andalusian region, the peacefulness and all the facilities required for a productive task during your debates, your reflections and your collaboration in these days.

The enormous relevance of News Agencies goes without saying. They represent, and have done so for a long time, one of the essential elements in the information process. We owe them a great deal. Hence, the recognition they deserve from all of us.

Agencies have specialised in explaining the essence of a piece of news, providing the raw material required to explain the events and to interpret them.

Agencies carry out their work without playing a leading role, in an anonimous way in many occasions, which ensures that their news are particularly valued by all those receiving them.

Although speed and agility in giving news singles Agencies? work out, their main value lies in their precision, reliability and veracity.

Representatives from Agencies coming from the five continents will analyse here the main challenges and opportunities they face, in a world marked by an increasing globalisation and by a very rapid technologic development.

The right of access to the coverage of big events of national and global scope, new technologies, the future of the Agencies and the safety of journalists are the main subjects to be discussed.

In this context, I would like to address my compassion and sympathy to the memory of all those journalists that lost their lives in the last years in the fulfilment of their information mission.

Today, News Agencies strive to adapt to new technologies that mark the communication world.

Indeed, and without forgetting about their essence, that lies in the getting and broadcasting news with agility and precision, they search for information that will also reach the computer's user, their mobile phones, and all those devices made popular by new technologies.

A series of new technologies that have lead experts to point out that to take advantage of the synergies and to successfully face all the challenges of the future, it is essential to incorporate news services based in traditional media into those born from the digital revolution.

I hope the celebration of this Congress in Spain will enable you to also get to know in more depth the important transformation experienced by our country in all sectors, including in the media.

Free and independent media, with an unquestionable influence, that have followed and taken part in the outstanding modernization of Spain during the last decades.

Among these media, EFE ? co-organizer of this Congress ? has played a very important role in this process and has played a key role in communicating Spain with the world, especially with the nearly five hundred million people who speak Spanish.

Awarded with the Prince of Asturias Award on Communication and Humanities in 1995, EFE possesses a large experience, an extraordinary team of professionals and an ever-present eagerness for renewal.

An eagerness always present in its daily delivery of news and along with the best effectiveness and swiftness.

During the First World Congress of News Agencies back in 2004 in Moscow, General Director of UNESCO, Mr Matsuura, already highlighted the relevance of these meetings.

He pointed out that the relationship between the freedom of the press and democracy has never been as close as in our present time.

In a world every day more interdependent and globalised, cooperation between News Agencies from all over the world becomes all the most important.

The protection of peace, of human rights, the fight against poverty, hunger, diseases, against the terrorist blemish or so many aggressions against the environment, are all challenges whose overcoming requires a greater and faster knowledge of facts and events.

The existence of independent news agencies is, definitely, one of the best guarantees to ensure that the information flow keeps running in each society, a flow that will guarantee a complete, truthful and responsible information.

As Ryszard Kapuscinski, Prince of Asturias Award on Communication and Humanities 2003, pointed out that ?there is still a great lack of understanding among cultures and international cooperation in a multicultural world of which we do not know still enough".

Progress towards greater understanding and shorter distances, is achieved by meetings like this Congress.

We reiterate our congratulations to the organisers of this Second World Congress for their excellent work, and we wish the best of successes to all participants.

I hereby declare this Second Congress of News Agencies opened.

Thank you.

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