"An attack on freedom of expression": Spanish justice vetoes words to Catalan media newsTV, radio and digital media can neither qualify as "exiled" any Catalan politician sheltered in European countries, nor can it use the expression "political prisoners" to imprisoned leaders and activists in the process of being judged
The Provincial Electoral Board of Barcelona, at the request of the Ciutadans political Party, has banned the use of the expressions "exile" or "political prisoners" from Catalan public communication media when referring to imprisoned activists and politicians who are being tried, as well as politicians who left Catalonia and established their residence in different countries of Europe. The Electoral Board is an instance formed by Judges and jurists that resolves disputes during election time.
The resolution has generated reactions from professional Collectives from both inside and outside the public corporation- that consider it an inadmissible interference and an exercise of censorship.
The professional councils of TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio, organizations composed by journalist and editorial offices, consider it "an attack on freedom of expression." They believe that the magistrates within the Electoral Board "order to rewrite what happens when they do not like what happens".
The expression "exile" or "exiles" in relation to the leaders who led the independence process and who now live outside Spain is common in many European media, and has been adopted according to the definitions of Catalan and Spanish dictionaries.
The expression "political prisoners", controversial and often a source of conflict, tries to capture the spirit of the definition approved by the Council of Europe in 2012, according to the Professional Council.
As for the Professional Council, the Spanish electoral authorities "ban words and change their meaning arbitrarily, in a grotesque retort of the Ministry of Truth that Orwell described. Today we are talking about "exile" and "political prisoners". Tomorrow we will see what words will be qualified of undesirable by political parties and, subsequently, will be prohibited by the honourable judges. History will keep being rewritten."
The Professional Council has argued that what they describe as an attack on freedom of expression "comes the same week that the Spanish foreign minister threatened to leave the television set when DW journalist Tim Sebastian asked incisive questions about the Catalan pro-independence process. The very next day Borrell said: "This type of characters, from time to time, need to be stopped."
It comes, too, hours after the leader of the Ciutadans party, Albert Rivera, openly lied - in the Council nobody has a doubt about it- about the contents of TV3.
The Professional Council concludes: "We feel professionalism and freedom of expression are being violated."