Reporters Without Borders says Spanish journalists continue to face harassment and repression

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AN NGO representing journalists across the world has said that Spanish reporters’ work to uncover scandals is being used by the state as a “weapon” against them.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) cited National Police raids on the Balearic Island offices of Europa Press in Palma and on Diario de Mallorca journalists in its Annual Report. It presented the report in Madrid on Friday.

RSF said journalists had continued to run into obstacles as seen when National Police officers seized mobile phones, computers and material from news outlets in Mallorca. Europa Press and Diario de Mallorca were reporting on alleged large-scale corruption on the island.

Tension in Spain fell compared to 2017 when the push for Catalan secession culminated in an independence referendum and declaration but the issue continued to loom large, RSF said.

“Attention has rested on Cataluña again in 2018 which has once again created a climate of hostility towards journalists,” RSF said.

The NGO cited cases of journalists and photographers being harassed by police officers and pro-independence and Spanish unionist demonstrators while reporting in Cataluña.

It comes as RSF placed Spain 31st in the world on its most recent Freedom of the Press ranking. Spain fell two places in the ranking from 2017 to 2018.

The country came ahead of France at 33rd, Britain 40th and the US at 45th. Spain came behind Norway which was first, Germany at 15th and Ireland at 16th.

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Joe Gerrard

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