Friday, July 4, 2014

¡Viva Franco!

Some Spaniards don't think that it's a self-evident truth that people should be free to pursue happiness by operating a newspaper;
The leader of new political party Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, has said that he wants to see public control over the media in order to “guarantee freedom of the press.”
“The media, or at least a portion of it, needs some mechanisms of public control,” states the recently elected eurodeputy in a new book called Conversación con Pablo Iglesias, written by the journalist Jacobo Rivero. The collection of conversations came out after the European elections of May 25, when Podemos took Spain’s political stage by storm in a surprisingly strong showing at the polls.
“If the right to information is a democratic right, then the concentration of property is incompatible with that right,” claims Iglesias, a politics lecturer whose regular presence on television debate shows propelled him to fame and to the top of Podemos. “Something as important as the media, something that is of public interest and is essential to democracy, cannot be exclusively in the hands of multimillionaires.”
Which didn't stop Iglesias from regularly getting on television to espouse his weird ideas, nor keep him from getting elected. Wonder how he would have fared under a not so distant Spanish regime;
Dr Jordi Cornellà-Detrell, a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at the School of Modern Languages set out to make a historic study of the censorship during Franco’s era, funded by an Arts & Humanities Research Council Early Research Scholarship, but was surprised to find that the edited versions are still being republished and read today:
“I began my study, comparing the censor’s changes to the original version of various novels including Dr No, when I realised that the modern reprint I was reading as the contemporary version was in fact the censored version, and I came to realise that the same was true of many other novels.”
As Dr Cornellà-Detrell explains: ”During Franco’s regime, foreign ideas were perceived as a potential threat to the moral and social fabric of the country.  The regime promoted the very catholic nature of Spain and censored literature that was at odds with this or with the political stance of the regime.
Among other admirers of Franco was/is Fidel Castro. Then there's the laboratory experiment underway in Ecuador right now;
Four newspapers in Ecuador are waiting to see whether they will be fined for failing to report on every detail of an official trip to Chile by President Rafael Correa on May 13 and 14.
Correa was scheduled to accept an honorary degree there, but he also met with Chilean leader Michelle Bachelet among other activities.
The complaint was filed by an agency called the Citizens’ Communication Observatory, but only after Correa encouraged the move in his Saturday program of May 17.
Organize yourselves, denounce it,” he told his audience, brandishing the news reports that he found excessively short. “They are taking away our right to be informed [...] They [the media]are providing a public service, which is to inform the people [...] React, people of Ecuador!”
And that's just one of 125 complaints lodged against Educador's media in the year since the law was passed.

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