After learning about the realities of corporate funding of public broadcasting in the United States and seeing the amount of funding for public broadcasting in the US compared with that of other countries, I was shocked. Maybe I was naive to think that public broadcasting was safe from this type of strong influence, but in the US, not only is public broadcasting undervalued, but it has corporate ties as well.
After studying in Spain last semester, I was curious to see how public broadcasting is valued there, this little investigation ultimately brought me to information about the freedom of expression in Spain.
This 2014 article discusses the lack of public broadcasting in Spain . It discusses the joining of several Spanish organizations to evaluate the presence of freedom of expression in Spain.
The Platforma en Defensa de la Libertad de la Información (PDLI), or The Platform for Freedom of Information, works to gain these rights for freedom of information and expression. Spain recently passed a law restricting public protest. The law puts restrictions on when and where a public demonstration can take place. There are also fines for not notifying the authorities that a demonstration is going to take place, and for “disseminating” photographs of police officers.
Spainiards have been protesting against the bill, saying it is a violation of human rights. With protests common during the current economic crisis , this bill will likely cause public unrest and continued resistance.
This article published by the PDLI breaks down this “Ley Mordaza,” or Gag Law. The article begins with a quote by Virginia Pérez Alonso, stating that the law is one of the worst violations of fundamental liberties in Spain since the Franco era. The article explains that the law is allegedly being put in place to protect the citizens, especially from acts of terrorism. The article also takes a position stating that the implementation of this law is a clear violation of the freedom of expression and the right to protest.
I will absolutely be continuing to follow the path of this law and I may even contact some of my Spanish friends about it. Having lived in Spain, I know that public demonstrations are an extremely common occurrence. There were demonstrations in front of the government buildings in Sevilla almost every day, and there were several days of classes that were canceled for a student strike. This bill could seriously harm these forms of public expression.