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Spain31 July 2008

Court orders Madrid radio host to pay 100,000 euros in damages

In a 29 July ruling, a Madrid court ordered radio Cope star presenter Federico Jiménez Losantos to pay José Antonio Zarzalejos, the former publisher of the newspaper ABC, 100,000 euros in damages for insulting him on the air. The court also ordered him to read out its entire ruling during his programme and to pay for its publication in two dailies, El Mundo and El País.

The court found that Jiménez Losantos had “attacked Mr. Zarzalejos’ honour” and was guilty of “an excess in the right to press freedom.”

Reporters Without Borders said : “While not taking a position on the substance of this case, we regret that this Spanish court ordered Jiménez Losantos to make a payment that is out of all proportion to the alleged damage. We hope this will be revised when his appeal is heard.”

In June, Jiménez Losantos was ordered to pay Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón 36,000 euros in damages for insulting him on the air.

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