The decade of information manipulation in Galicia that Feijóo forgets when he now demands a free press

The decade of information manipulation in Galicia that Feijóo forgets when he now demands a free press
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“Not to insult any journalist like ministers do. Not to ask for orchestrated campaigns against them as the Government is doing. No to socialist militants directing public media. And not because this Government, or anyone, asks to silence or delegitimize journalists. And yes to the free press in Spain.”

Precisely like this, “Yes to the free press in Spain” is the text of the post that accompanies https://twitter.com/NunezFeijoo/status/1785285498983854492, which the author of that speech, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, posted on his account on the social network X -formerly Twitter-. The words were spoken in Congress, before a parliamentary group that interrupted with their applause. Several of them, those who occupy the front row, were part of its hard core already in Galicia, where at the head of the Xunta government he carried out exactly the opposite of what he now preaches.

This apparent fall from the horse has been received with irony in the CRTVG, the public media corporation that the PP has turned into a paradigm of the government propaganda organ while launching its darts against RTVE. The Defende Galega movement, which has been fighting against information manipulation for almost six years, responded from the same network with the hashtag https://twitter.com/DefendeAGalega/status/1785331120562696354and there were many workers at the house who showed their displeasure, individually, at Feijóo’s statements.

More institutional was the president of the corporation’s intercenter committee, Raquel Lema. “We celebrate that after turning a deaf ear for years to our complaints, he demanded a free press.” He urged him that “since he did not do it during his government in Galicia, nor during the 310 Venres Negros”, weekly mobilizations of the staff against the political control of the CRTVG, “be his party – with an absolute majority in the Galician Parliament – who applies it immediately in the Galician public media.”

The way to do it, for the staff representative, would be with a replacement of the general director and the creation of the News Council and the Professional Statute, two measures included in the Galician Media Law of 2012. For his part, the general director, Alfonso Sánchez Izquierdo, appointed by Feijóo a few days after becoming president of the Xunta, has been in an interim position since 2016.

Having just turned 75 years old and being investigated for workplace harassment – in a case that includes seven other current and former CRTVG officials – he has expressed on numerous occasions, although always privately, his interest in leaving the position. The replacement will not be easy, since it requires a qualified majority of Parliament, a legal reform or finding a back door like the one that, through the Budget Accompaniment Law, allowed Izquierdo to remain in office forever.

Lema’s final argument collides head-on with Feijóo’s words in Congress. The trade unionist rejects “the manipulation of information by like-minded journalists placed in management positions” and also “the reprisals and ostracism of journalists and other workers who refuse to manipulate or disagree with the editorial line.”

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“No to socialist militants directing public media”

The adjective in Feijóo’s refusal is not accidental. He could have said “no to party members directing public media,” but he has restricted it to socialists. The ex-president of the the news that they ordered him to do.”

So https://twitter.com/susiquintana/status/1766853795911204953 in the magazine Lights another former worker at the house, Susi Quintana, for whom that was “the first alert of what would come later.” But there was something that made Bermúdez valuable to the cause above all those disadvantages: her loyalty to the acronym and her past as an electoral interventionist for the PP. Today, she still remains at the top of the Corporation.

“No to this Government, or anyone, asking to silence or delegitimize journalists”

In the CRTVG, silence was not asked: it was ordered. And, when the direct order was not enough, a file was opened. They tried to do it to Tati Moyano, a presenter who demanded an end to the manipulation at a gala attended by Feijóo and suffered harassment that, in the end, came to nothing. Those who came out to support her knew what it was like to receive intimidating calls from the CRTVG communications department with the corresponding mentions of legal services.

There was no talk of “shredding,” but the spirit was the same. Surely, Feijóo would have considered them “private conversations,” like Miguel Ángel Rodríguez’s threats to elDiario.es. “The people who direct this type of communications will have to make, of course, the assessment they consider appropriate,” he said then, still without the uniform of champion of the free press.

Back in Galicia, the one who did suffer a file was Carlos Jiménez. A face and, above all, a well-known voice in Galician audiovisuals, he was sanctioned for doing voice-overs for production companies that broadcast their programs on TVG. After years of doing it, his bosses discovered that gambling was taking place in that casino just when he joined the Defende a Galega movement. What they did not take into account was that he had a compatibility permit that allowed him to carry out that activity. In her ruling, the judge had no doubts in finding a “direct relationship” between the file “with the manifestation of his journalistic discrepancy regarding the corporation’s information policy.” “The purpose of retaliation cannot be unquestionably excluded in his sanctioning action against the worker.”

“Yes to the free press in Spain”

Economic stability is the best guarantee for a free press and the Xunta – both Feijóo and his successor, Alfonso Rueda – have always ensured that, as far as institutional advertising is concerned, this stability lacks measurable and objectives requested, among others, by the Colexio de Xornalistas.

Money shuts mouths and Feijóo knew it – and knows it -. Throughout his 13 years in San Caetano he distributed 45 million by hand to the media. The last, 3.5 million, when he was already on the launch pad towards Madrid, ready to replace Pablo Casado. His landing in the capital found him a generous salary of 1.2 million in aid to journalistic companies in the state capital.

One of the most challenging moments of his mandate was the publication in The country of his now legendary photos with the drug trafficker Marcial Dorado. After trying to shut everyone’s mouths with a press conference that left more unknowns than answers – in addition to Socratic phrases like “I only know that there was snow” when he was unable to remember where he had gone on winter vacation with Dorado -, Feijóo used the traditional method: distributed 900,000 euros among the media. In the Galician wholesale press – affectionately known as the concerted-, “the case was not talked about anymore”, like in that song by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs.

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