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August 19, 2015

Former El Mundo editor to launch online paper in fight for press freedom in Spain

By Conori Bell-Bhuiyan

Spanish editor Pedro J Ramírez will launch new online paper El Español to fight back against attacks on press freedom in Spain, the Times reports.

The news website claims to be a bid to revive Spain’s media and combat the damage done to press freedom by the “gag-law”, or the citizen’s security law, under which the media can be fined up to €30,000 for “unauthorised” film and images of police officers on duty.

Ramírez has also said that Spain’s economic downturn has left newspapers “financially precarious and vulnerable to political pressure”.

Large numbers of journalists have lost their jobs since the 2008 financial crisis.

“When everyone is losing money, you become dependent on large corporations which in turn are closely linked to the government… the result is censorship and – what is even worse – self-censorship”, Ramírez told the FT.

“We believe the press must play the role of watchdog. We must be the counterweight…against the concentration of political power and the concentration of economic power.”

Ramírez, 63, was fired from his 25-year long role as editor for Spanish right-wing paper El Mundo in 2014. His exit followed a series of reports about Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy allegedly receiving money from a secret slush fund.

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Despite being weeks away from officially launching the El Español beta website already claims to have 9,000 subscribers. According to the Financial Times the paper has garnered €118 million from investors and has attracted some of Spain’s most distinguished journalists.

 

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