Spanish state broadcaster drops 'censorship' plan

22nd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain's state broadcaster buckled in the face of widespread outrage Thursday and abandoned a plan to let political representatives review news stories before they air.

The RTVE board -- composed of major political party and union representatives -- stunned journalists by deciding Wednesday to give themselves access to the station's internal editing system.

It would allow the politicians to see all the journalists' headlines, videos and interviews and connections in real time -- while they are being worked on and before they are shown to the public.

"It opens the door to advance censorship, political control and all kinds of pressure," charged the RTVE news committee, made up of representatives of the channel's news services.

"This decision is a direct attack on the freedom and independence of journalists since it allows for the control of the content of newscasts while they are being prepared," it said in a statement.

Four RTVE board members from the conservative Popular Party, which is riding high in opinion polls ahead of November 20 general elections, had made the proposal at Wednesday's meeting.

With the absention of the ruling Socialist Party members of the board, the proposal was passed.

But on Thursday, in the face of the fierce backlash, the Popular Party members of the board backpedalled and vowed to reverse the decision in an urgent meeting Friday.

"We request its cancellation in an urgent meeting of the board called for that purpose," they said in a statement, citing "the opposition and unease this decision has raised".

© 2011 AFP

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