Spain

Constitutional Court rulings threatens to limit freedom of expression

During this period, protests were staged over labour rights due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on several sectors- including the hospitality and food services industry. In a concerning development, two rulings made by the Constitutional Court took a restrictive interpretation on the right to freedom of expression. In a separate development, a Spanish Court condemned CTXT- a Spanish online media outlet - for breaching the “right to honour” of a famous actor due to a news article published in 2016. The court went further by preventing the outlet from publishing any further information relating to the news that resulted in the legal lawsuit, thus raising concerns of over the right to freedom of information. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Constitutional Court rulings threatens to limit freedom of expression

Protests over COVID-19 measures amid a second wave; red flag raised over social media proposal

During the second wave of the pandemic, several protests broke out throughout Europe against COVID-19 measures introduced. Following the announcement of tougher measures, protests occurred in several big cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. These protests have turned violent and, in some cases, have led to the arrest of protesters. In a separate development, journalists have reported that the Ministry of Interior is preventing them from taking photos of the arrival of refugees in the Canary Islands and thereby making it challenging to inform the public about current developments. In a concerning development, the Interior Committee of the Congress approved Podemos’ proposal to ban hate speech on social media. The initiative has been met with reluctance among opposition parties, jurists and freedom of expression experts. The proposal obliges digital platforms to police hate speech and invites them to censor online content.
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Protests over COVID-19 measures amid a second wave; red flag raised over social media proposal

Catalan independence leaders targeted by spyware; calls to revise ‘Gag Law’ on five-year anniversary

Catalan independence campaigners are suspected to have been targeted by government services using spyware, which is allegedly only sold to governments for the purpose of surveilling criminals and terrorists. However the Spanish government has denied all allegations. On the five- year anniversary of the controversial Citizen Safety Law, more popularly known as the “Gag Law”, NGOs called for the revision of the law which has been criticised for impeding freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. The law has been used during the lockdown to record a number of fines against citizens. In a concerning development, during the pandemic media professionals have criticised the Spanish government for filtering questions during telematic appearances, leaving many journalists' questions unanswered. Journalists also continued to face attacks from far-right groups, including the Fox party.


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Catalan independence leaders targeted by spyware; calls to revise ‘Gag Law’ on five-year anniversary

Calls for newly elected government to repeal the so- called ‘Gag Law'

The so called “gag law” has been used by the previous government to restrict the right to protest and the media’s coverage of protests. However, there is a clear intention on the part of the new government to reform the Criminal Code and to repeal the parts that are used to undermine freedom of expression. In a separate development, far-right party VOX continues to attack media organisations and journalists. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Calls for newly elected government to repeal the so- called ‘Gag Law'

Catalan independence protests turn violent

In recent months, Spain has seen several mass demonstrations for and against Catalan independence. While many peaceful demonstrations took place, police and pro-independence demonstrators have clashed on several occasions. It is reported that there have been over 600 injuries in clashes, including jouranlists. Read more

Catalan independence protests turn violent

Police arrested nine people linked to pro-Catalan independence groups

On 23rd September 2019, the police arrested nine people linked to pro-Catalan independence groups on suspicion they may have been plotting violent acts to be committed in the next few weeks. Read more

Tags: censorship | women
Police arrested nine people linked to pro-Catalan independence groups

CSO threatened with fine for migrant rescue operations; anti-LGBT groups win court cases

In June 2019, authorities sent a warning letter to the captain of the Spanish NGO Open Arms threatening to fine them up to 901,000 Euros for "violations against maritime safety or traffic management" if they continue with migrant rescue operations. Read more

CSO threatened with fine for migrant rescue operations; anti-LGBT groups win court cases

Spain: Judicial proceedings against artists and a documentary filmmaker

During the time period covered by this update, from March to May 2019, a number of lawsuits were filed against artists and their work that has been deemed offensive or hurting religious feelings. Read more

Spain: Judicial proceedings against artists and a documentary filmmaker

Important reform of “gag law” that impedes freedom of expression stalled due to early elections

In February 2019, the Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called an early general elections, set for 28 April 2019, that haltеd the started parliamentary reform of the infamous “Gag Law” (Organic Law for the Protection of Citizen Security). Read more

Important reform of “gag law” that impedes freedom of expression stalled due to early elections

Femen protestors met with violence by pro-Franco supporters in Madrid

Three Femen protestors interrupted a march by supporters of Spanish dictator Franco in November 2018. Read more

Femen protestors met with violence by pro-Franco supporters in Madrid