Spain’s media crippled by crisis

Agence France-Presse
Journalists demonstrated in Madrid to warn of the damage wrought by the economic crisis on the country's media industry

MADRID, Spain – Spanish journalists demonstrated Thursday, May 3, to warn of the damage wrought by the economic crisis on the country’s media industry, which has suffered thousands of job cuts.

Around 200 journalists demonstrated in Madrid under the slogan “No journalism, no democracy,” to mark World Press Freedom Day. Similar protests were called in about 50 other towns across Spain, organisers said.

“At the moment, freedom of expression in Spain is threatened not by political issues but by economic ones, by the crisis,” said Carmen del Riego, president of the Madrid Press Association.

Journalists’ associations warned that the cutbacks during the economic crisis shaking Spain for the past 3 years were weakening the press.

“Recently we have seen an alarming increase in restrictions… and attempts by various institutions to limit the right to information,” said a manifesto read out by del Riego at the Madrid demonstration.

Lost jobs

The Spanish Federation of Journalists’ Associations says more than 6,000 journalists have lost their jobs in Spain since the economic crisis broke out in 2008.

Fifty-seven media organisations have closed down and 23 have made lay-offs, while many journalists have had their salaries cut.

“It is shameful. There is no work. They offer you a salary of 700 euros ($920) a month and they prefer to hire interns without experience who can’t stand up to the pressure,” one unemployed journalist, Belen Martin, 36, told AFP.

Spain is in its second recession in 4 years. The unemployment rate has reached more than 24%, rising to 52% among the under-25s.

Sofia Leon, 31, a journalist who has been unemployed for 3 years, made an observation increasingly familiar among young Spaniards: “The only thing left for us to do is to look for work abroad.” – Agence France-Presse