Serious concern as accounts of violence against journalists grow in Catalonia. 

Over the past month, the crisis in Catalonia has escalated.  After nine separatists were jailed on October 14, a surge in violence in Barcelona has resulted in over 65 journalists being attacked and injured while covering ensuing protests.

According to a report in El País October 19, accredited photojournalist Albert Garcia tried to take a photo of  a man being arrested and was “immobilised on the ground by half a dozen agents” before he was taken to a police van and detained.  Garcia was wearing a bracelet identifying him as press.

Several more accounts of violence towards journalists described police officers intentionally targeting press workers.

La Vanguardia reported that CTXT magazine journalist Elise Gazengel was beaten by police officers. Catalan News reported that rubber bullets and rocks were being aimed at identifiable press workers. One of their own was bruised by a rubber bullet.


Amnesty International denounced excessive use of force “against people who posed no risk, including journalists” as has the Council of Europe.  Journalists Pol Pareja and Sergi Alcázar were both accosted by police officers with a baton. Pareja suffered minor injuries.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has noted more accounts of violence towards press workers, including attacks on two press workers from public broadcaster TVE.

Media associations in Catalonia issued a joint statement saying, “Without journalism, there is no democracy. Every time someone blocks the work of a journalist they are going against the system of democracy.”

The Public Media Alliance condemns all violence against journalists and recognises the need for journalists to operate freely to bring accurate information to the public.

Header Image: Barcelona at night. Credit: kanuman/iStock