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October 23, 2017

Spain threatens takeover of Catalonian public broadcaster over pro-independence propaganda claims

By Freddy Mayhew

The Spanish government could take editorial control of Catalonia’s public television channel TV3 after it accused the broadcaster of sharing pro-independence propaganda.

Political tensions have heightened in the region following a thwarted referendum on Catalonia’s secession from Spain, which the Spanish government has claimed was illegal

Catalonia is now facing direct rule from Spain while its devolved institutions are suspended. The authorities have accused TV3 of supporting the cause of Catalonian independence, according to the BBC.

But TV3 news editor Anna Oliete told the Today programme: “We are doing our jobs with impartiality, with objectivity, with neutrality in the way that journalists do.”

In a report, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontieres – RSF) said that while private channels “have the right to endorse any editorial line of their choice” it had noticed a “clear bias in news reporting” coming from both TV3 and RTVE (Spanish Public Radio and Television) in favor of the regional and central governments, respectively.

The organisation said that some of the anger from civilians against the TV channels resulted from what was considered to be a “blatant manipulation of information” on both sides.

It added: “Journalism is not immune to the current alarming breakdown of Catalan politics and society; on the contrary, it is the subject of direct collateral damage from such tensions.

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“RSF calls for a cooling of tension that has overtaken the region and for the soonest possible restoration of an environment ensuring respect for journalists to inform, and for citizens to be informed.”

Spain ranks 29th on the RSF’s World Press Freedom Index. The UK is at 40.

Picture: TV3/Youtube

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