Spain Outlaws Political Satire

In a move that many would recognize as targeting the Catalans, Spain has recently expanded its anti-terror laws in a way that effectively shuts down political satire in the country.

From Amnesty.org.uk

Spain’s terrorism law is ‘outlawing political satire’ – new report

The Spanish authorities are using counter-terror laws to crack down on online creativity in a chilling attack on freedom of expression, a new report from Amnesty International has warned today.

The 16-page report, Tweet…if you dare: How counter-terrorism laws restrict freedom of expression in Spain, reveals that social media users – including musicians and journalists – have been prosecuted on grounds of national security.

Convictions under laws banning the “glorification of terrorism” or “humiliating victims of terrorism” has created an environment where people are increasingly afraid to express alternative views, or make controversial jokes.

Last December, 12 rappers from the collective La Insurgencia were fined, sentenced to more than two years in prison each and banned from working in the public sector, for lyrics that were deemed to “glorify” the armed group GRAPO. They are appealing the sentence, but they are just some of the many artists who have been prosecuted under the law.

Esteban Beltrán, Amnesty Spain’s Director, said:

“Sending rappers to jail for song lyrics and outlawing political satire demonstrates how narrow the boundaries of acceptable online speech have become in Spain.

“People should not face criminal prosecution simply for saying, tweeting or singing something that might be distasteful or shocking. Spain’s broad and vaguely-worded law is resulting in the silencing of free speech and the crushing of artistic expression.”

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Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at pg@istate.tv