Monday, December 5

The Council of Europe publishes an alert on the arrest of journalists from El Salto for covering the Prado protest

The Platform for the Defense of Journalism of the Council of Europe published an alert on Wednesday about the arrest of a journalist from El Salto and a photographer for documenting a protest by climate activists at the Prado Museum. The alert states that on November 6, 2022, El Salto collaborator Joanna Giménez and a photojournalist were arrested while filming a demonstration by Futuro Vegetal activists at the Prado Museum in Madrid.

The arrest of the journalists who covered the Prado action sets off alarms about the right to information

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Thus, the alert relates that the two documented the moment in which two activists painted “1.5°C” on the wall of the museum, “to draw attention to the failed efforts to limit global warming, and then they stuck to the frame of the paintings of the Spanish artist Francisco Goya, the naked maja Y The maja dressed.

“It was one of many protests by climate activists in recent weeks in an effort to raise the alarm about global warming ahead of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference,” explains the alert published by the Council of Europe.

“According to the information,” the alert relates, “Giménez informed the security guards who went to the scene that she was a journalist and had the right to film and report on a matter of public interest.” And she adds: “She was forced to stop recording, arrested by the National Police and transferred to the Arganzuela police station. She was held incommunicado overnight and charged with property damage, historical heritage damage and disorderly conduct.”

The text of the alert continues: “The photojournalist, whose name was not published, was also held overnight and charged with the same crimes. The police accused both media workers of actively participating in the protest, even though they filmed the incident and did not do any graffiti or stick to the frames. If found guilty, they could face between six months and three years in prison or a fine.”

Thus, the text includes a fragment of the editorial published by El Salto: “The arrest of the two journalists is inappropriate because it threatens the freedom of information received by citizens and the plurality of messages transmitted by the media.”

“Spanish journalists’ unions also expressed concern about the arrests. International press freedom organizations criticized the arrest and demanded that the charges against the media workers be dropped.

Indeed, this Monday it was learned that the titular magistrate of the Investigating Court No. 29 of Madrid, on duty, has agreed to release the climate activists and the journalists who reported on the protest to “warn about the rise in global temperature ” that took place last Saturday at the Prado Museum. The four, three women and one man, were arrested by the State Security Forces and Bodies for their relationship with the protest.

They are investigated for the alleged commission of a crime against the historical-artistic heritage of article 323 of the Penal Code, sources from the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid have reported.

The activists of the environmental organization Futuro Vegetal stuck their hands to the frames of the paintings ‘La maja Desnuda’ and ‘La maja ropa’, by Francisco de Goya, and the journalists reported the action for the newspaper The jump.

The activists were arrested the same Saturday by the National Police inside the museum. The journalists were arrested on Sunday, according to the aforementioned media outlet.

“The journalists were covering information of public interest. There is no evidence that there was a prior agreement in which different roles were distributed [con los activistas], so I don’t think the case has a future”, says Marisa Cuerda, Professor of Criminal Law at the Universitat Jaume I de Castelló. “Whoever tells a news event is protected by the Constitution. Even though the activists ‘need’ public dissemination to fulfill their goals”, adds Joaquín Urías, professor of Constitutional Law and former lawyer of the Constitutional Court.

The opinion of the experts contrasts with that of the Federation of Associations of Journalists of Spain (FAPE), reports Europa Press. “They have not been arrested for an act in which they exercised the profession, therefore we cannot speak of the right to information. The fact that they are journalists does not give them the license to carry out any type of action, such as, in this case, incivility. They have expressed themselves as citizens, not as journalists, and as citizens they will have to respond”, declared the president of FAPE, Miguel Ángel Noceda.

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