Euskadi ta Askatasuna (Basque Homeland or Freedom), the armed separatist group that is usually referred to by its acronym ETA, has alternated between political dialogue and bomb attacks in Spain and France since its foundation in 1959. Controlling the news is a key goal for ETA and journalists considered “enemies of the cause” are targets of its violence. Its victims have included José María Portell, murdered in 1978, José Javier Uranga, wounded in a shooting in 1980, José Luis Lopez de la Calle, murdered in 2000, and Gorka Landaburu, badly wounded in the face and hands by a parcel-bomb in 2001.
Several dozen Spanish journalists have received ETA death threats and have to have bodyguards. ETA spoke in 1998 of “the need to give the people a voice, that the people get their voice back and that their voice be respected.” But the organisation has so far not shown the same enthusiasm for giving a free voice to journalists, whom it often describes as “dogs” or “policemen.”