Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Spain19 January 2006

Catalan autonomous region asked to amend broadcasting law

Reporters Without Borders wrote to Mr Josep Bargallo, chief minister of the Catalan autonomous regional government today about a law adopted by his parliament at the end of last month that would give the Broadcasting Council of Catalonia powers to regulate media content and impose sanctions that are arbitrary and contrary to the principles of free expression. The organisation asked him to submit amendments to the law to the parliament.

Dear Chief Minister,

Reporters Without Borders, an international organisation that defends press freedom worldwide, would like to express its deep concern about the broadcasting law that was passed by the Catalan parliament on 29 December.

We are aware that the Catalan autonomous community needs to have a law regulating the news media, but we believe that some of the provisions of this law pose an especial danger to press freedom.

Articles 80.f, 111, 113, 116, 128.c-2, 132.e and 140.1 of this law would enable the Broadcasting Council of Catalonia (CAC) to impose heavy fines on news media ranging from 90,000 to 300,000 euros and to order their closure by withdrawing their licences. According to these articles, the media must respect “the principle of veracity of news and information, based on verification of facts” and must not “obstruct the government’s surveillance activity.”

The law thereby grants punitive powers as extensive as those of a court of law to the Broadcasting Council, whose members are elected by a two-thirds majority of the Catalan parliament on the proposal of a minimum of three groups. The “veracity of news and information” is an expression that can be interpreted in restrictive and abusive ways. These provisions are completely contrary to the European legislation in force, which is much more favourable to the principle of free expression.

We therefore call on you, Chief Minister, to submit amendments to these article to your parliament in order to make them conform to the European standards in force.

We trust you will give this matter your careful consideration.


Robert Ménard Secretary-General

  In this country
16 January - Spain
Another Basque TV installation bombed
31 December - Spain
Basque public broadcaster targeted by ETA car-bomb
20 December - Spain
Basque newspaper humorists acquitted of insulting the king
10 November - Spain
Prosecutor requests five-month jail terms for journalists who covered radical Basque demo
31 July - Spain
Court orders Madrid radio host to pay 100,000 euros in damages

in the annual report
Spain - Annual Report 2008
Spain - Annual report 2007
Spain - 2006 Annual report

Europe press releases
4 June - Kosovo
Rrokum TV station still excluded by national broadcasting network
2 June - Ukraine
Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
2 June - Turkey
Woman journalist held for past five weeks on baseless charge of link to armed group
2 June - Russia
Journalist seeks asylum in Finland after being convicted for prison torture articles
29 May - France
Regrettable decision by appeal court to lift ban on magazine only if offending photo is covered up

5 February 2009 - Bulgaria
“Resignation or resistance, Bulgaria’s embattled press hesitates”
28 January 2009 - Russia
Fact-finding visit : Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor
27 June 2008 - Turkey
Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison

Sign the petitions
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

Europe archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives