In March, political parties in Spain seemed closer than ever to an agreement over RTVE’s reform toward greater transparency. Now, there’s still in an impasse caused by one party.

Public broadcasting in Spain has been at the mercy of heightened and intense debates over the past year. Having to deal with corruption, censorship and an outdated structure, Corporación de Radio y Televisión Española (RTVE) – the country’s public broadcaster –  sought to re-establish its independence. A new reform, which was initially agreed in Parliament, seemed to provide a way out.

The approval of the “Renewal of Offices Act” in September came with the hope of reinstating the broadcaster’s independence and improving its transparency, by electing the head and board of the public broadcaster via public contest and employing people with experience, expertise and understanding of public media. However, the agreement reached deadlock after a series of political rows and a controversial amendment required by the ruling People’s Party (Partido Popular – PP).

Following the March deadlock, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español – PSOE), Podemos and Ciudadanos signed an agreement to launch the public contest within 60 days, to which the PP did not comply. Without PP support, and with Spain’s Congress and Senate – where PP has a majority – demanding new legal analysis, the public contest seems a long way from implementation.

The delays sparked outrage among local journalists and media organisations in Spain and throughout Europe. RTVE staff started a campaign on Monday via social media called #AsíSeManipula to denounce bad practices in the company, including censorship and political meddling. The campaigns criticise how information presented on RTVE often favours the PP and how reporters are influenced in their daily job.  The campaign was introduced “so that citizens can have access to real situations that explain how information manipulation exists within the broadcaster every day and with everyone’s money”.

The initiative was originally launched by women reporters, as part of the group MujeresRTVE (RTVE’S women). They were quickly joined by their male colleagues, RTVE reporters in the Canary Islands, media critics and organisations such as Reporters without Borders.

Following the campaign, many RTVE employees have decided to dress in black every Friday to raise audience awareness about the issues facing the PSB. They will continue to do so until public media regains its independence, transparency and accountability to the public.

PMA will continue to follow and update on developments at RTVE.

Header image: RTVE headquarters in Barcelona. Credits: Almusaiti/Creative Commons