News

November 13, 2019

RSF warns Spanish far-right party to stop violating press freedom

Campaign meeting of Vox party (AFP)
As a result of Spain’s general election on 10 November, the far-right party VOX is now the third largest political force in the Spanish parliament. Headed by Santiago Abascal, this party has been responsible for many press freedom violations.

Its attacks against journalists have intensified in recent weeks to the point that it has refused to let journalists from the PRISA media group’s outlets cover several of its press conferences, has promoted attack campaigns against journalists on social networks, and has harassed reporters in the field. These attacks violate the democratic principles that the party had to accept in order to participate in the elections, win seats in parliament and defend its ideology and political programme.

 

Several weeks before the start of the election campaign, VOX confirmed that it had decided not to talk to the newspapers El Diario.es, El Plural, Público, La Marea, El Español, El Mundo (except two of its journalists) and El País (in certain cases), the news websites Infolibre and CTXT, and the TV programmes “El Intermedio” (La Sexta) and “Todo es Mentira” (Cuatro) on the grounds that “they are activists, not journalists.”

 

Shortly before the election, the party went even further by banning PRISA media group outlets (including El País and radio Cadena SER) from covering its rallies after an El País editorial described Abascal’s discourse as “xenophobic and intolerant.” The authority that oversees elections campaigns and elections in Spain issued a warning to VOX, but that did not stop the party from barring PRISA journalists from its celebrations and press conferences on election night.

 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is alarmed by the situation in Spain and issues a stern warning to VOX to put a stop to its violations of the freedom to inform.

 

If VOX persists in regarding journalism as its enemy, RSF will regard VOX as an opponent of press freedom,” said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s European Union and Balkans desk. “We cannot allow this political party to continue trampling on such a precious asset as the freedom to inform, and we will do everything in our power to make our concerns heard internationally and at every level necessary.”

 

In order to stop such undemocratic excesses in Spain, which is currently ranked 29th out of 180 countries in RSF’s World Press Freedom Index, RSF plans to provide its support and cooperation to media and journalists affected by these attacks.