Human rights claim for Spain’s ‘gag law’

Heartbreak as avid fan of Italian side A.C. Trento dies of sudden illness aged 44. Image: A.C. Trento/Facebook

A LAWSUIT against the Spanish government has been taken to the European Court of Human Rights in a bid to repeal a controversial security law that impacts freedom of expression.

Nicknamed the ‘gag law’, the controversial Citizens Security Law came into force in July to national and international outcry over its strict guidelines on protest and the interaction with police officers.

The law provides for a €600 (£436) for “disrespecting a police officer” and up to €600,000 for holding unauthorised protests near key infrastructure sites. 

Journalists in particular are up in arms about one provision which makes it illegal to disseminate images of police officers, with one absurd case seeing a Spanish woman fined €800 for sharing online a photo she took of a police car parked illegally in a disabled space.

Three groups of journalists will file the triple lawsuit, which is backed by Defender a Quien Defiende, or To Defend Those Who Defend. They will argue that the law foments self-censorship, minimises police accountability, and limits the right to communication. 

The International Press Institute has cited “vague and disproportionate provisions in the public security law” that risk “chilling news media and harming the Spanish public’s right to information on matters of public interest”.

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