Journalists and staff members of Spain’s state media station, TVE Catalunya, are taking a stand against coverage of the Oct. 1 Catalan Referendum, calling it an “embarrassment."
Journalist Anna Grimau attacked the agency in an open letter on Twitter, stating that the company’s staff rejects the presentation of the events on both its news presentations and debates shown on TV1 and Canal 24 Horas, two of the station's programs.
“During the day, the San Cugat delegation were not allowed to edit the information related to the events, specifically those relating to the way Madrid has reported police actions,” the journalist wrote.
“Even during live coverage, they were pressured into not talking freely about the action of the police and to minimize these actions.”
The nation’s Information Council issued a request for the resignation of the entire Information Directorate due to its failure to report the news in a journalistic, truthful, unbiased and objective manner.
Critics of the state television stations jumped at the reports which, they say, explained in just 10 minutes the events transpiring in Catalonia. They recalled that the only mention of police action was to say that officers were acting by court order and failed to provide full details of their conduct outside of polling stations or their pending criminal charges.
"Shame: it's how I feel as a journalist from TVE watching the biased treatment that Telediario is giving. This is manipulation," TVE reporter Vanessa Benedict tweeted Sunday.
Other members of the state-owned network also protested the faulty coverage, as members of the channel 24 Horas launched an impromptu demonstration in Torrespaña, standing in silence and holding signs with the word “shame” written in Spanish and Catalan.
“And it’s not the first time,” the journalists wrote, “Since the 11th of September, we have suffered and have been sidelined in the information related to the Catalan process with constant instruction on how to write these articles, we have to fight even minutes before transmission.
The group went on to provide a few examples, saying that due to these instances, they condemn the presentation of information related to the referendum and publicly denounce the forced suppression of staff members.
“The portrayal of a skewed version of reality has given a ridiculous and grotesque image of a public communication media that represent all citizens, instead of guaranteeing the fundamental right of honest and plural information, which is the obligation of TVE,” the journalists said, adding that such reporting potentially jeopardizes the company's credibility.
Leaders from across the world have criticized the heavy-handed response to the referendum, which led to more than 850 injuries Sunday at the hands of military forces, according to reports from the regional government.
The Catalan provincial police, Mossos Squad, said it was “proud” that they acted “with precision” and kept order around Catalan, but avoided the extreme “unilateral” measures taken by the National Police and Civil Guard against voters.
Catalonia's leader said 90 percent of voters backed Catalan’s independence from Spain. However, the EU announced Monday that the referendum is illegal and will not be recognized.