Spain: More Than 8000 Journalists Lose Job Due to Crisis, Political Criteria


Human Wrongs Watch

By Cor Doeswijk (Screenshot: NOS) RNW* — More than 8000 Spanish journalists have lost their jobs over the past four years, mainly as a result of the economic crisis in Spain. But politics and the privitisation of public broadcasters are also playing a role.

**Image: Ughhhg

According to Aurelio Martin, the Vice President of the Federation of Associations of Spain’s Journalists, the crisis has led to a significant drop in advertising, causing many media organisations to see their revenues plummet.

“The advent of internet and free newspapers,” he adds, “has shaken the financial foundations of many newspapers and other media.”

Political Criteria

In Spain, when elections result in a government of a different political persuasion, journalists who were supporters of the outgoing administration are often replaced by reporters sympathetic to the victorious party.

According to Martin, “many public radio and TV stations were established with the backing of the government, whether it be at national, regional or local level.

These organisations have to cut back for economic or political reasons, which is leading to many job losses.

The national public broadcaster, TVE, isn’t only using professional criteria: the new management is dropping programmes that were extremely successful, and good journalists’ contracts are not being renewed. Politics is more important than professionalism.”

Privatisation

The management of Radiotelevisión Valenciana recently announced that as a result of the economic crisis, it will privatise the broadcaster and fire 80% of its employees.

Other regional radio and TV stations are taking similar measures. The FAPE vice president admits that too many stations were set up, with too many employees.

Now there’s the danger that the opposite will happen: public regional stations – set up by the governments of the autonomous regions – could completely disappear.

Uncertain Future

Over the past four years, 60 journalistic organisations have been closed and 8000 reporters have been made redundant.

Aurelio Martin believes Spaniards’ civil rights are in danger: the right to information, a diverse media landscape and even democracy.

“This is a very serious development, and we must find a solution urgently,” he says, “because without journalists, there’s no journalism, and without journalism, there’s no democracy.”

*This report was published by the Dutch international public broadcaster: Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Go to Original.

**Image: Ughhhg | Wikimedia Commons.

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2012 Human Wrongs Watch

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