Spain | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2005

2005 Scores

Press Status


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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Concerns for press freedom in Spain include antiterrorism legislation and high awards in defamation suits against journalists. In July, the Spanish Supreme Court upheld the 1997 and 1999 convictions of a former editor and a journalist of Diario 16, a now defunct publication, for insulting the former king of Morocco, Hassan II, even though the court confirmed that the contested article was truthful. Spain has a free and lively press, with more than 100 newspapers that cover a wide range of perspectives and are active in investigating high-level corruption. Daily newspaper ownership, however, is concentrated under large media groups like Prisa and Zeta.

Al-Jazeera television reporter Tayseer Alouni, a Syrian-born Spanish citizen originally arrested in September 2003 and charged with terror-related offenses, was released for medical reasons in October 2004 but rearrested in November. Alouni interviewed Osama bin Laden for Al-Jazeera. In May, a European Commission report criticized restrictions placed on journalists in the Basque region, many of whom practice self-censorship and avoid sensitive issues. In 2003, the Basque-language daily Euskaldunon Egunkaria was shut down under suspicion of collaborating with the Basque separatist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA, or Basque Fatherland and Freedom). Spanish courts approved additional four-month extensions of the closing in February, June, and November 2004. Ignacio Uria, one of Egunkaria's managers who had been imprisoned since February 2003, was released from jail in August. In November, seven key members of Egunkaria were charged with forming an "illegal association." The trial was pending at the end of the year. During 2004, ETA continued its campaign of fear targeted against journalists who oppose its separatist views in the disputed region. Journalists and newspapers reported receiving threats by ETA in October.