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IAMCR statement on Catalonia

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Public Statement Update

This update to the IAMCR statement on Catalonia published on 5 October clarifies the scope of IAMCR statements and the role of the Clearinghouse for Public Statements.

IAMCR has received a number of comments on the statement published 5 October 2017. This is to clarify that IAMCR does not initiate statements or issue statements beyond its remit. The Clearinghouse for Public Statements considers requests to make a statement by its members. The current situation in Catalonia and Spain is complex and many actions and actors might be mentioned. The Clearinghouse for Public Statements is not mandated to report on or pass judgement on developing situations. It is mandated to make specific interventions, on matters relating to media and communications, guided by IAMCR’s remit and the Clearinghouse procedures, which are explained in its pages on the IAMCR website.

The statement IAMCR issued covers issues within IAMCR’s mandate and makes no judgement on the political issues involved in the relationship between Catalonia and Spain. The statement is concerned with violations of freedom of expression in Catalonia and it emphasises that university institutions and media organisations must be able to operate without state interference if the democratic process is to proceed in an open and transparent way. The response to the request to issue a statement is limited to the issues of media and academic freedom, and does not address outcomes or preferences for political outcomes which are matters for Catalonia and Spain.

Janet Wasko, President of IAMCR
Robin Mansell, Chair of the IAMCR Clearinghouse for Public Statements
11 October 2017

Stament of 5 October 2017

IAMCR stands in solidarity with academics and journalists in Catalonia who condemn the abrogation of the right to freedom of expression as a result of actions by the Spanish military police and Government in connection with the Regional Government’s referendum on whether Catalonia should become independent.

These actions include searches of and threats against news media organisations, the blocking and closure of websites and lawsuits and formal complaints against academics and other professionals.

IAMCR protests these measures which intimidate citizens and suppress political expression. University institutions and media organisations must be able to operate without state interference if the democratic process is to proceed in an open and transparent way.

This statement was drafted by IAMCR's Clearinghouse for Public Statements at the request of IAMCR members at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Universitat Jaume I and Universitat Ramon Llull and approved by IAMCR's president, Janet Wasko.

This first sentence of this statement was corrected on 7 October. The incorrect version that was circulated was: "IAMCR stands in solidarity with academics and journalists in Catalonia who condemn the abrogation of the right to freedom of expression as a result of actions by the Spanish military policy and Government in connection with the Regional Government’s referendum on whether Catalonia should become self-governing."