On Friday, the editor-in-chief of "Gazeta Wyborcza", Adam Michnik, received the 2022 Princess of Asturias Award - Spain's highest honor often compared to the Nobel Prize.
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At its meeting in Oviedo, the jury chaired by Víctor García de la Concha justified its decision to grant Michnik the 2022 Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities by citing his "dedication to journalism and his influence on the recovery and defense of democracy in Poland".

The jury also wrote that the editor-in-chief of "Wyborcza" is "one of the best known and most outstanding defenders of human rights in Poland".

The ceremony was preceded by a week of meetings with journalists, intellectuals, and students. On Thursday evening, the laureates were treated to a flamenco performance, and later had the opportunity to meet the Spanish royal family at a gala dinner. On Friday at noon, the royals held an audience with the laureates at the historic Reconquista Hotel.

Oficjalna audiencja laureatów u Króla i Królowej Hiszpanii oraz Księżnej Asturii
Oficjalna audiencja laureatów u Króla i Królowej Hiszpanii oraz Księżnej Asturii  Fot. Ivan Martinez / FPA

We are publishing the full transcript of Adam Michnik’s award acceptance speech below.

***

What does it mean to be a laureate of the Princess of Asturias Award? This award is not for me, but for someone who has a connection to a world of values to which I always try to be faithful. It is an award for people who stood up and rebelled in 1968, and who were active in the Workers' Defense Committee and the Solidarity movement. The path of people from various countries, people such as Andrei Sakharov from Russia, Vasily Stus from Ukraine, who was murdered in the gulag, Vaclav Havel from Czechoslovakia, Istvan Bibo or Janos Kis from Hungary – has led us to freedom through speaking the truth out loud, through underground activity and imprisonment. It was a non-violent path, a path without fanaticism, and without hatred. For many of us, this path was similar to the one that had led Spain from civil war to democracy, through compromise, dialogue, and negotiation. 

However, all these people knew that rejection of violence does not mean submission to brute force. Today's heroic resistance of Ukraine to the bandit invasion of Putin's Russia comes from this very spirit.

Finally, this tradition obliges us today to resist aggressive populist policies based on stigmatizing everything that is different: refugees, the LGBTQ community, and other faiths and religions. Europe should be a welcoming home for all those who want to take part in building that home. So, I see this award as recognition not so much for me, but for the entire editorial staff of Gazeta Wyborcza, which has been willing to participate in building such a home since the beginning.

***

Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about Polish politics and society, keeping a critical eye on the ruling camp’s persistent assault on democratic values and the rule of law; the growing cultural tension between religious fundamentalism and human rights; and the ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine. Our journalists are on the front lines in 32 Polish cities, reporting from the streets, hospitals, and courtrooms about issues that move public opinion.

We decided to make our service available to everyone free of charge in order to provide access to high quality journalism for expats and English speakers interested in Polish affairs.

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