Spain | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status


Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The government's preoccupation with fighting terrorism led to an increase in the level of harassment that Spanish media faced in 2003. Ten Basque writers and journalists were arrested and three more held in continued detention under antiterrorist legislation. The Basque-language daily, Euskaldunon Egunkariaa, was shut down under suspicion of collaborating with the armed Basque separatist group ETA, and its editor was reportedly tortured while held for five days in prison. Al-Jazeera reporter Tayseer Alouni was arrested in August and remained in detention at year's end, allegedly for his connections with the terrorist group al-Qaeda. News media still wait for promised amendments to the civil code that would relieve them of the requirement to pay heavy fines in defamation cases. The magazine El Siglo, the online newspaper Canoa-Diariodirectio, and the TV station Telemadrid have all been hit by excessive fines for libel. The Spanish public broadcaster, Radio-Television Espanola (RTVE), operates two national television channels and four national radio networks. The two main commercial broadcasters are Telecinco and Antena 3. There is no official regulatory body for the press. Twenty newspapers account for about 70 percent of total circulation; 60 percent of all newspapers are owned by three Spanish media groups.