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Spain21 October 2004

ETA renews threats against journalists

Reporters Without Borders expressed its serious concern after ETA issued a series of new threats against journalists. It called on Spanish authorities to protect them.

Editor of the daily El Mundo, Pedro J. Ramírez, said on 18 October 2004 that a journalist on his paper had received threats from the Basque separatist group.

Basque television and radio Euskal Irratia Telebista (EITB) let it be known on 15 October that several of its staff had received threatening letters from ETA.

The worldwide press freedom organisation expressed its concern in a letter to interior minister José Antonio Alonso.

"ETA has resumed its terror campaign against media who do not cover international politics or the situation in the Basque country to their liking. We urge the Spanish authorities once again to put in place all the necessary measures to protect journalists and allow them to work normally," it said.

The editorial of El Mundo said an unnamed journalist working in the Basque Country received a letter from ETA in the week of 15 October telling him that his name had been entered in the separatist group’s internal bulletin.

ETA said in the letter that the journalist’s work was "not good" and accused him of being a "police officer" and an "informer".

"You use the word terrorist to refer to ETA and its members. You encourage police operations and you are in favour of a police solution to the conflict," said the letter. You express your joy when ETA members are tortured or kidnapped. You stir up people against the Basque National Liberation Movement (MLNV)."

Reporters Without Borders pointed out that Spain is the only country in the European Union in which journalists, when targeted by ETA, have to move around permanently with bodyguards.

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