Growing polarisation, lack of transparency
The Covid-19 pandemic ended three years of significant physical violence against journalists by both police and demonstrators, due above all to conflict over Catalan separatist demands and the rise of the far-right party VOX. But the climate of polarisation – which has continued and even increased in Spanish politics and in the positions taken by the media ever since the centre-left Socialist Party (PSOE) and left-wing Unidas Podemos formed a coalition government – is eroding society’s confidence in journalists and fuelling hate speech against the media. VOX continues its strategy of stigmatising journalists as the “enemy,” stepping up its cyber-harassment and abuses, and banning journalists from covering its events. In the past year, journalists have criticised the lack of transparency shown by Prime Minister Pablo Sánchez and his government, and the hostility that Unidas Podemos and its leader Pablo Iglesias have displayed towards certain media outlets and reporters. Journalists have been particularly concerned about press conferences at which they have not been able to ask questions, or only questions previously vetted by the government. They have also been concerned about measures to combat disinformation, and about obstacles to their covering migrants arriving in Spain. The lack of transparency was exacerbated by the state of emergency and draconian lockdown restrictions during the first few months of the pandemic. Journalists found it hard to cover what was happening in hospitals and morgues, and to obtain reliable, regular figures, which they often had to estimate for themselves, without help from the government.
29 in 2020
22.16 in 2020