MIAMI, Florida (September 29, 2008)—With a message of welcome King Juan Carlos I of Spain will formally open the 64th General Assembly of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) in Madrid on October 6 in a meeting that will be held outside the Americas for only the second time in the organization's history.
Also headlining the event will be Spain’s Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero who will deliver the keynote speech during the closing ceremony. The meeting of the press of the Western Hemisphere at the Meliá Castilla Hotel in the Spanish capital will begin on Friday and last until Tuesday, October 7.
Attended by more than 500 delegates and guests prominent in the worlds of politics, economics and culture, the principal objective of the IAPA event is to review the status of press freedom in the Americas. Among the issues evaluated by the organization will be the surge of violence against individual journalists and news media during recent social upheavals and election campaigns, economic discrimination and legal actions that hinder the press' ability accomplish its duty of informing the public.
Other activities scheduled during the event include panel discussions and roundtables with the participation of experts from Europe, Asia and the Western Hemisphere on such hot topics as access to public records, the role of university schools of Journalism, the global warming challenge, violence against the press and the how the financial health of news media is faring.
There will also be a series of professional seminars dealing with new technologies, online journalism, marketing, advertising and how mobile phones are changing the way news is distributed and received.
Other prominent figures who will address delegates coming to the General Assembly from throughout the Americas and Spain are former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González, Ibero-American Secretary General and former Inter-American Development Bank President Enrique Iglesias, and award-winning author Mario Vargas Llosa.
One of the foremost events is a roundtable on the Spanish language, with the participation of Víctor García de la Concha, director of the Spanish Royal Academy of the Language, Pedro Luis Barcia and José Moreno de Alba, directors of the Argentine and Mexican Academies, respectively.
On Monday a gala ceremony is to be held to present the prestigious IAPA’s Awards for Excellence in Journalism, awarded annually to outstanding journalists and news media outlets for Investigative Reporting, Features, Newspaper in Education, Human Rights, Photography, Infographics and Cartoons. This year the awards go to reporters, columnists, photographers and graphic artists from Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and the United States.