EFJ Backs Spanish Journalists Protesting Against Government Attack on RTVE Impartiality

The

European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today expressed its total rejection of

a Spanish government executive law that changes the way the director general of

national public broadcaster RTVE is appointed. The decree implies that a simple

majority, and not the two-thirds majority previously required, will be

sufficient for appointing the main manager of RTVE.  The controversial

decree has to be confirmed by parliament, but Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is

counting on the conservative majority of his party (Popular Party, PP) to

impose his decision. 

"Impartiality

has to be protected in all European public broadcasters and this decree of

Rajoy goes against European standards", said Arne König, president of the EFJ:

"We support the protest published by the journalists' news council of TVE that

considers this change to put at risk the independence of the Spanish national

public broadcaster". 

In

a public statement, the Journalists TVE News Council describes as "very

worrying" the Rajoy decree, which also implies the reduction of number of seats

on the RTVE Board. Spanish media unions believe the goal is to overturn any

union representation in the governing body of the Spanish public broadcaster.

After

a recent cut of its budget of around 20 per cent, the controversial decree

arrives at a time when RTVE enjoys a large audience for the quality of its

programs and news services. 

"The

PP is planning to discredit RTVE in order to asphyxiate it economically and to

ring-shape its democratic regulations", said a statement of the section union

of CCOO (affiliated to EFJ/ IFJ). Also the Federation of Journalists Unions

(FeSP) and the Federation of Journalists Associations in Spain (FAPE), both

affiliated to EFJ and IFJ, have denounced it as "a step back" and pointed

towards the short term political motivations behind this attack to RTVE

impartiality. 

"A

public service must not become a tool for propaganda", said Stephen Pearse,

General Secretary of EFJ, "and an effort to find agreement on this matter would

always have been better than the imposition of a hasty decree without

consensus. In a democratic country such as Spain, RTVE should be strengthening

its impartiality and not taking steps back such as this".

The

EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in 30 countries
For more information contactthe EFJ at +32 2 235.2200