Spanish king warns about misinformation as a risk to democracy

by Lorraine Williamson
media and democracy

King Felipe VI strongly defended journalism in the face of the rise of social media and misinformation during the celebration of the prominent Spanish daily financial newspaper CincoDías‘ 45th anniversary on Tuesday night.

In his speech, the monarch reflected on the importance of journalistic values, which are even more crucial in the current context. “As the dean of the Spanish economic press, CincoDías represents the journalistic values that must be preserved at a time when the technological revolution and the influence of social media contribute to information overload. And they do so in a context of misinformation and simplification, where citizens sometimes end up believing content that may not be true. Hence the importance of safeguarding journalistic values,” defended Felipe VI. 

Good journalism as the cornerstone of democracy 

The King argued that media outlets “committed to the truth and the practice of good journalism” are the cornerstone of a democratic society. According to him, it is this good journalism that allows citizens to have the resources to understand the world around them and to verify information.  

Additionally, he highlighted the role of the press in the economic and democratic development of the country over the past 45 years for three reasons: “Promoting public debate, shaping a more informed public opinion, and serving as a barometer of reality at any given moment.” 

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A newspaper as a witness to the changes of Spanish society 

Felipe VI defended the journalistic commitment to the truth after briefly visiting the exhibition showcasing the most important front pages in the newspaper’s history, displayed as part of the celebration at the Teatro Real in Madrid. “Over these 45 years, CincoDías has been a privilleged witness to the profound changes that have occurred in the history of Spanish society and economy,” he stated. 

Spanish Transition 

The historical change that led to the creation of the newspaper, as the King recalled, was the Spanish Transition from dictatorship to democracy, and he described CincoDías as “the pioneer of the daily economic press.” Juan Carlos I had just ascended the throne, Spain had not yet joined the EU and the transition from the peseta to the euro was still a distant dream. The current king recalled how in 1978, Spain “began to embark on the path of democratic normalisation, economic modernisation, and social progress.” 

Finally, the monarch congratulated the newspaper on its 45th anniversary in a crowded ballroom at the Teatro Real, in the presence of Vice President of the Government Nadia Calviño, Minister of Defense Margarita Robles, PRISA President Joseph Oughourlian, and CincoDías Director Amanda Mars, among more than a hundred attendees. 

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