EFJ AGM 2000: 11. Violence in the Basque Country

European Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
Adopted by the EFJ AGM held in Nuremberg, Germany, May 26-28, 2000

11. Violence in the Basque Country

From the Spanish Unions CCOO and FAPE

The representatives and delegates of the journalist's unions and association in Europe, meeting in Nuremberg on 27 May 2000 for their Annual General Meeting, wish once again to voice their indignation at the murder of the Spanish journalist José Luis López de la Calle, on 7 May.

He was a journalist who had spent several years in jail for opposing Franco's dictatorship. Moreover, right up to his death he was one of the leading lights behind the "Forum d'Ermua", an institution set up by Basque intellectuals striving for peace.

However, the terrible end met by José Luis followed continuous threats issued by ETA against journalists and the bombs recently sent to two other journalists in Seville and Madrid. Neither should we forget all the members of the media who have had to leave the Basque country or who still live a life of fear in what is a virtually underground existence. Their only crime is that they investigated what is actually going on or dared to voice their opinions.

We also condemn the spiral of violence which, stemming from the HB or Euskal Herritarrok (the political branch of ETA), is currently winning over certain Basque nationalist leaders who had hitherto been considered democrats. Nothing they say can justify the acts of terror being perpetrated. On the very day that José Luis died, the spokesmen for Euskal Herritarrok said that the killing was "understandable", given the "role played by the media". But as the publishers, editors and journalists attending a major protest rally put it: "What kind of debate is it when one party puts its ideas into words while the other party kills anyone who does not agree?"

We call upon the European Union and the Spanish government, as well as the authorities in the Basque country that is largely autonomous within the Spanish constitution to use justice and the law to bring about a ceasefire. Furthermore, we call upon them to do whatever is required to contradict the justifications given for attacks on the freedom of speech and ideas.

One leading newspaper in Paris wrote that the death of José Luis had been the passing "of a fair man". We would qualify that by adding the opinion of the vast majority of the Spanish media: they will not silence us. NO NOS CALLARÁN.