Catalan conflict’s collateral victim
The last few months of 2017 were particularly bad for press freedom in Catalonia. Journalists were the collateral victims of the conflict between the central government and Catalan government resulting from the illegal referendum held in Catalonia on October 1 and Catalonia’s unilateral declaration of independence. The climate had already been tense for several months. Many journalists with media that do not support independence were subjected to social network lynching, sometimes encouraged by Catalan government press officers. Several journalists were physically attacked while covering events linked to the referendum. Others were subjected to intimidation by the police while reporting. Angry crowds prevented reporters with all Spanish and Catalan TV channels from covering both pro- and anti-independence demonstrations. The arrest in Spain at Interpol’s behest of Hamza Yalçin and Dogan Akhanli, two European Union journalists of Turkish origin who are wanted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government for political reasons, was another source of concern. There was one piece of good news: the reform of Spain’s public broadcaster, RTVE, approved thanks to a consensus in the Spanish parliament, should restore RTVE pluralism and independence and put a stop to any massaging of the news. But the “Gag Law” continues to restrict press freedom because its reform is still blocked.
34 in 2016
19.92 in 2016