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Spain: ‘Carne Cruda’ Cancellation Stirs Debate on Censorship

[All links lead to texts in Spanish unless otherwise noted]

Fears of state censorship and declining freedom of expression are rising afer the influential, political satire programme ‘Carne Cruda‘ (Raw Meat) found itself unexpectedly cancelled from national radio.

An unprecedented act by the director of Spanish National Radio 3 (RNE3) led to the end of Carne Cruda, an influential radio programme celebrated for its honest, witty criticisms of Spanish society, economics and politics, hosted by Javier Gallego. This act has created widespread commotion amongst Spain's Internet community.

@jordievole: Mañana sube el IVA, y hoy ha bajado la libertad de expresión. Se han comido #CarneCruda.

@jordievole: Tomorrow they raise the VAT, today they bring down freedom of expression. They have eaten Raw Meat. #CarneCruda.

Carne Cruda Boom!

Carne Cruda Boom!

@jesusprubio: My favourite radio show was cancelled because my? government dislikes words of Javier Gallego (the truth), thanks man

@jenelesuispas: censorship in Spain. The best radio programme very critic with the government has been cancelled#carnecruda

@almakg: Clear censorship in Spain. The only radio programme which had enough guts to criticize the system, has been cancelled. Long live #carnecruda

The reasons for this cancellation according to the new manager of RNE3, Tomás Fernando Flores, are because the programme is “sensationalist,” “expensive” and “kamikaze“.

These ‘excuses’ come as a shock not only because just a month ago plans were made to continue the programme for another season, but also because, as Javier Gallego writes on his facebook page, the show was anything but “expensive,” the “sensationalism” was merely a “witty truth,” and the description “kamikaze” seemed entirely out of place.

Javier Gallego wrote the following on his Facebook page:

RESPUESTA DE TOMAS FERNANDO FLORES AL CIERRE DE CARNE CRUDA. MIENTE EN LAS CIFRAS EXAGERADAMENTE: EN EL PROGRAMA ERAMOS 3 PERSONAS (DURANTE VARIAS FASES SOLO 2, INCLUIDO YO), 3 COLABORADORES MUSICALES A PRECIO DE SALDO (TRABAJARON GRATIS LAS 2 PRIMERAS TEMPORADAS), OTROS DOS GRATUITOS, Y UN GUIONISTA A TIEMPO PARCIAL PARA SKETCHES DE HUMOR. ME SALEN 5 COLABORADORES, NO 7, Y POCO PAGADOS O NADA. NO HE TENIDO JAMAS 4 GUIONISTAS PARA MI. LOS 3 COMPONENTES DE CARNE CRUDA ESCRIBIAMOS EL GUION. ANTES TFF ME DESPEDIA POR DINERO, AHORA TAMBIEN POR SENSACIONALISTA. SUS CIFRAS SI SON SENSACIONALISTAS.

Reply of Tomás Fernando Flores with respect to the ending of Carne Cruda. Your lies about the figures are an exaggeration: there were only three people on the programme (during many phases, only two, myself included), three music collaborators working for a bargain (they worked for free during the first two seasons), another two working for free, and one script-writer working part time on comedy sketches. I have five collaborators, not seven, and they are paid little if anything at all. I have never had four script writers for myself. The three components of Carne Cruda wrote the script. Before, Tomás Fernando Flores sacked me for money, now also for having been sensationalist. His figures are sensationalist.

What are we paying for?
Why are they hiding information from us?
Why are they lying to us?
Why are they manipulating us?
RTVE (Spanish National Television and Radio)
For an RTVE free of control from the current government.
Freedom of expression NOW.
If they want the NO-DO (‘Noticias y Documentales’, a Franco-era state-controlled newsreel series) – let them pay for it themselves.

In 2006, a new law was passed in Spain that required a two-thirds parliamentary majority for key appointments in RTVE, the national television and radio network. However, it seems that, as journalist Miguel Anxo-Murado puts it, “the government has seen it as a matter of the utmost urgency to scrap that law and return to the good old vendetta system” thus putting at risk the objectivity and impartiality of state broadcast networks.

Javier Gallego hinted that his dismissal was government influenced in his open letter to Tomás Fernando Flores:

Su discurso y maneras se parecen tanto a las del actual Gobierno que cualquiera diría que el Gobierno está detrás. No voy a ser tan mal pensado. No está detrás. Está delante porque ni siquiera se molesta en ocultarlo.

Your discourse and manners are so similar to those of the current government that anyone would say that the government was behind this. I won't be so malicious. It is not behind it. It is in front of it because it does not even bother to hide it.

This is not the first time that journalists are dismissed from state-funded broadcasters; Ana Pastor, Xabier Fortes, Juan Ramón Lucas, Fran Llorente are among other victims of what many refer to as “the state purge”.

Yet, while the government might have intended to raise the government's popularity, polls already indicate a fall in support of 16% from March to August. Without a doubt, the cancellation of Carne Cruda will also impact this figure.

Más allá que la realidad : Beyond Reality by Masaltoqueelsilencio.

Más allá que la realidad : Beyond Reality, by Masaltoqueelsilencio.

In the meanwhile, a new programme has been scheduled to be broadcast weekly on national Spanish television offering weekly information about the Spanish Royal family. According to the newspaper Periodista Digital, Alicia Gómez Montano, the future presenter of this programme, describes the show as being “blanco e institucional”: white and institutional.

El Ecodiario believes that this programme represents an “institutional effort to regain the royal family's popularity lost upon revealing Iñaki Urdangarín's implication in the Noos case and other episodes that have negatively affected their image.”

A mass protest on Monday September 3, 2012, at the RNE headquarters was organised by the unofficial Facebook group “Salvemos Carne Cruda” and following this event the petition created on www.change.org to bring back the programme raised almost 45,000 supporters within 24 hours:

Carne Cruda es un ejemplo de pluralidad raro en la radio española. En sus programas se da voz a los que normalmente no la tienen en otros programas de radio.

Carne Cruda is an example of rare plurality on Spanish radio. Its programmes give a voice to those who normally do not have one on other radio programmes.

Only the future will tell whether the programme will return or not. For now, here is the video posted by NaturaMagik with an extract from Javier Gallego's speech “Pensar demasiado es peligroso” (Thinking too much is dangerous).

http://youtu.be/cTb5Bp7WSPo

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