European Union can´t boast of Press Freedom

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Spain is in front of governmental decisions that can affect to its freedom of expression, measures than can culminate in lots of UNTOLD STORIES.

Many things are nowadays changing in Spain. People are not only suffering a economic crisis; people are being affected by a crisis in one of their fundamental human right:, their right of express in a free way. The new Spanish government is taking some controversial measures related with media that have caused a great impact in the country. Is Spain walking backwards?

Spanish Ministry of Interior plans reform the penal code to become “passive resistence” in a crime.

The Spanish minister of the Interior has announced recently that the Executive is going to carry out a far-reaching reform of the penal code. These measures will include as a “crime of integration in a criminal organization” call violent gatherings by Internet. It could be condemn under penalty of jail. Spanish Government justify this action saying that they must fight against “the spiral of violence” of some “anti-system communities”.

However the Internet calls are not the only affected by the reform that is considered for many people a restriction of  their rights. It will be considered like crime or assault against authority the big, passive or active, resistance. That means that everybody who attends to a demonstration which had not been notified before to the Delegation of Government could be convicted.

The government also is going to tougher sanctions for street violence, equating it with the antiterrorism legislation specially designed for the cases of “Kale Borroka” (actions carried out by the supporters of the group terrorist ETA in Basque Country). The objective of all of this is, according with the  Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, “strengthen the authority” to ensure the public order.

Spanish Public Media (RTVE) don´t escape neither of these temperamental decisions.

The party in the power plans change the the way that the president of RTVE is elected. Until the arrive of the new Government in Spain the model of govern of the  Spanish Public Television consisted on a board of directors whilst of 12 individuals was to be elected on the merits of outstanding qualifications and professional experience.

Eight of the members were to be appointed by Parliament by two-thirds majority, with two of those being nominated by the majority union within RTVE Corporation. The remaining four were to be appointed by the Senate, also by two-thirds majority.

The president of RTVE Corporation and of the board of directors was to be appointed by Parliament, chosen from among the twelve elected board members. This model guaranteed (more or less) the independence of the press from the government.

Now the election of President of RTVE will not need consensus among the majority parties.  With the reform, there will be a first ballot that will look for the agreement of two thirds of the Congress. If this not happens, there will be a second ballot in which an absolute majority is enough: 176 of 350 deputies.

We must not forget that People Party obtained absolute majority in the past elections so they will be able to chose the new president of the national public radio and television without pact with other parliamentary groups.

With a “head of public media” chosen by the government, who can guarantee the freedom of the press?. How many parts of the stories will be able to be lost?

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