Catalonia protests: Without journalism, there is no democracy


The political conflict between Catalonia and Spain has reached its most critical point with a week of protests against the sentence that condemned Catalan leaders between 9 and 13 years of prison. Some of the demonstrations have turned into a scenario of violence between protesters and police officers. The journalists, in between, are suffering the consequences of this confrontation: 59 journalists had been injured as for today (65 according to Mèdia.cat, but some of them are still unidentified), some of the reporters have been held in custody and informing about the situation is becoming more and more difficult.

The European Federation of Journalists and the International Federation Journalist have joined the Manifesto initiated by one of our Spanish affiliates’ member Sindicat the Periodistes de Catalunya (Federation de Sindicatos de Periodistas FeSP) calling for the respect for the rights of journalists to freedom of information and stop violence against journalists covering the protests.

 

The full manifesto:

With all the aggressions that we, journalists, are suffering from these last days, we want to warn the citizens that their rights are being violated. Our insistent and repeated calls to stop aggressions against information professionals go far beyond a corporatist claim, it is an alarm cry over the deterioration of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

Journalists play a key role in informing the public on issues of public interests so that citizens can make an informed decision on public policy. Every time when someone deprive this right of a journalist, he/she  is undermining the democratic system.

Almost 65 journalists (according to the latest figure) – became victims of attacks while doing their jobs. This is absolutely intolerable. We reject each and every one of these attacks, wherever they come from.   Because of this, the citizens’ right to receive information is also under attack. We note, however, that they are especially serious when the attacks come from public servants.

For these reasons, the undersigned entities:

  1. We strongly disapprove the actions of the police forces, both of the Mossos d’Esquadra and the Policia Nacional. The majority of the assaulted journalists were perfectly identified as such with the corresponding vest and / or the orange bracelet. The indiscriminatory attacks by the police suggest that these attacks are aimed at intimidating journalists, resulting them to move away from the centre of the event.  Thus, it prevent journalists from exercising their role as watchdog.
  2. We demand both the Ministry of Interior of the Catalonia and the Ministry of Interior of Spain to investigate these attacks. Likewise, we demand that, from the respective administrations, sufficient actions are taken to ensure that media professionals can carry out their works in the public space without hindrance and fearing for their safety. The undersigned entities offer to train police forces on the obligations of public officials to guarantee the right to information of citizens in order to prevent these situations from recurring in the future.
  3. We further disapprove the detention of a journalist by agents of the Policia Nacional. It is totally unacceptable both in the ways in which these agents treated the partner and for the fact of doing so.
  4. We ask all citizens and participants in demonstrations and protests to respect our work in order to guarantee their democratic rights to information. We, media professionals, are nothing more than the rest of the citizens and we want all the protests to be peaceful and that no one is the object of any violent act. But we also know that sometimes this has not been possible and we are there to report the event as it happens. That is why we ask for respect for our rights to freedom of expression and the right to information, which are enshrined in our democracy.
  5. We ask the political parties, once again, for the respect and recognition of our work.
  6. We understand that there may be people upset by the editorial policy of some media. This policy is not decided by media professionals who are covering these events on the streets. We remind you that to complain about the information that anyone receives, you can go to the Information Council of Catalonia and the Audiovisual Council of Catalonia if you believe that information violates the Code of Ethics of journalists. But the outrage they may feel cannot be directed against the media workers that cover the events.

Barcelona, ​​October 22, 2019

You can read the ,manifesto in Spanish here.

Signatory entities (as for now):
• European Federation of journalists (EFJ)
• International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)• Col·legi de Periodistes de Catalunya (CPC)
• Sindicat de Periodistes de Catalunya / Sindicat de Professionals de la Comunicació (SPC)
• Grup de Periodistes Ramon Barnils (GPRB)
• Col·legi Professional de l’Audiovisual de Catalunya
• Associació de Dones Periodistes de Catalunya (ADPC)
• Consell Professional de La Vanguardia
• Comitè d’empresa de La Vanguardia
• Associació Comunicació Pública (ACP)
• Grup Tirabol (Racó català, Viasona, Social, Jornal i La Mira)
• TotLleida.cat
• Consell Professional de La Xarxa
• Federació de Mitjans de Comunicació Locals
• Comitè d’empresa de l’Agència Catalana de Notícies – ACN
• Consell Professional de Catalunya Ràdio
• Comitè d’empresa de Catalunya Ràdio
• Ua1 Lleida Ràdio – ràdio local de Lleida
Comarques de Ponent – diari
• Comitè professional d’El País
• Comitè d’empresa d’El País
• Comitè d’empresa de Betevé
• Comitè Professional de Betevé
• Colexio Profesional de Xornalistas de Galicia (CPXG)
• Colegio Vasco de Periodistas – Euskal Kazetarien Elkartea
• NW-La Revista de Reus
• Ràdio Balaguer
• Sicom – Solidaritat i Comunicació
• Federació de Sindicats de Periodistes (FeSP)
• Sindicato de Periodistas de Madrid (SPM)
• Sindicato de Profesionales de la Información de la Rioja (SPIR)
• Associació de Periodistes del Garraf
• Nord.cab
• Calella Comunicació
• Intersindical – CSC
• Comitè d’empresa de Regió7
• Associació de comunicació política de Catalunya – ComPolCat
• Agrupación de Periodistas de UGT
• Redacció El Cinèfil
• Setmanari l’Ebre
• Marfanta.com
• Canal 21 Ebre
• Nova Tàrrega
• Fora de Quadre
• Federació de Mitjans de Comunicació Locals de Catalunya
• Teleduca
• Associació Món Comunicació
• Ràdio Associació de Catalunya SCCL
• El Prat Comunicació (El Prat ràdio i El Prat TV)
• SER Ebre
• Territoris.cat
• Viurealspirineus.cat
• Coordinadora de TV Públiques (Canal 10 Empordà, Betevé, Canal Blau, Badalona Comunicació, Vallès Visió, Canal Terrassa, Mataró Audiovisual, RTVE el Vendrell, Tac12, Hospitalet TV, RTVVilafranca, VOTV)
elCugatenc
Diari de Tarragona
• Tramuntana TV
• 17600 Ràdio de Figueres
• CTXT.cat
• CTXT.es
• Ona Codinenca
• Porta Enrere
• Olesa Ràdio
• Ràdio Cambrils
• OnaCat.Ràdio
• Ràdio Ciutat de Tarragona
• BXC Ràdio
• Balaguer Televisió
• Pressenza
• El Jardí de Sant Gervasi i Sarrià
Núvol. El digital de cultura
Surtdecasa. El digital de cultura de proximitat
• Reusdigital.cat
• Fetasantfeliu – Diari digital
• Estrategia del contenido
• Comitè d’empresa d’El Punt Avui
Photo credit: periodistes.cat