Reporters Without Borders


Armed separatist group

Euskadi ta Askatasuna (Basque Homeland and Freedom), the Basque armed separatist group better known by the acronym ETA, has constantly targeted journalists in France and Spain since it was founded in 1959. Its victims include José María Portell, murdered in 1978, José Javier Uranga, wounded in a shooting in 1980, José Luis Lopez de la Calle, murdered in 2000, and Gorka Landaburu, who suffered severe face and hand injuries when he opened a parcel bomb in 2001. Several dozen Spanish journalists are still forced to have bodyguards because of ETA death threats.

ETA set off a car bomb outside the Bilbao headquarters of the Basque public TV station EiTB on 31 December 2008, causing considerable damage but no injuries. In a statement, ETA accused journalists of distorting the facts with the support of “political commissars and editors” and accused EiTB of practising “political apartheid” and “taking orders from Spain.” In a barely veiled threat, it added: “We are not going to tell journalists how to do their work. We are making a clear appeal to those in charge of EiTB to work in a responsible way.”

Despite announcing in October last year that it was ending its armed struggle, the organization has not yet surrendered its weapons. In January this year, 19 journalists in the Basque country and other parts of Spain had to live and work under police protection. This is still the case for several of them nowadays.

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