The International Federation of Journalists, the world's largest journalists group, today vigorously condemned the assassination of a Spanish newspaper executive in an attack attributed to the Basque terrorist group ETA. "It is another sign that everyone who works in the media business is at risk" said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary, "but the terrorists are wrong if they imagine journalists and media professionals will bow to their intimidation."
Two unidentified gunmen shot Santiago Oleaga Elejabarrieta, the financial director of the daily El Diario Vasco, to death in a public parking lot on Thursday, 24 May. It was the eighth killing attributed to the ETA this year and the latest in a series of a terror wave on independent media in the Basque country in an apparent campaign to silence the media.
Last week, the IFJ and its regional group the European Federation of Journalists accused Basque terrorists of "brutal intimidation" of the media world after a parcel bomb exploded at the home of journalist Gorka Landaburu in Zarautz.
The IFJ said that it supported the determination of its Spanish affiliates - the Federación de Asociaciones de la Prensa Española (FAPE), the Federación de Comunicación, Papel y Artes Gráficos ELA IGEKO and the Federación de Comunicación y Transporte de CC.OO - to challenge the recent terrorist campaign of violence against media staff.
The attack is the latest in a series of actions against journalists: last year José Luis Lopez de la Calle of El Mundo was killed; in January an ETA unit in Barcelona tried to kill Luis Del Olmo, a leading radio journalist; in March the offices of El Correo in Bilbao were hit by a number of "Molotov cocktails".
The IFJ is calling on the Spanish authorities and European political leaders to redouble their efforts to isolate the terrorists. "More must be done to find the killers and bring them to justice," said the IFJ. "At the same time, politicians must foster an atmosphere of tolerance and support media staff. Terrorism will not succeed, but we must minimise the risk to all who work in media."