Reporters Without Borders

Criminal charges against journalist who posted spy video of politician online

Criminal charges against journalist who posted spy video of politician online

Published on Thursday 26 April 2012.
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Reporters Without Borders condemns the use of judicial proceedings to hound Madrid-based Radio SER journalist Pilar Velasco, who was charged before a Madrid court on 20 April with violating confidentiality by releasing secretly-recorded video footage of a politician and with refusing to reveal how she came by the video.

“We support Pilar Velasco in her legal battle,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is unacceptable in a European Union country for criminal proceedings to be brought against a journalist for posting a video online and for protecting her sources. The courts should not be influenced by the plaintiff’s public office. This harassment must be stopped and freedom of information must be respected.”

The case is the result of a complaint that Community of Madrid vice-president Ignacio González brought against Velasco after she posted a video entitled “Ignacio González was closely followed by spies” on the radio SER website on 28 April 2009.

The video showed González on an official trip to Colombia. Filmed by hidden cameras without his knowledge, the one and a half hours of footage showed him in the course of various activities during the trip including meetings and conversations with Colombian businessmen.

There was widespread public concern at the time about the degree to which Spanish politicians were using clandestine methods to spy on each other. Velasco posted the video as an example of the political espionage that was going on.

Velasco was the only target of González’s complaint although other media, such as the national daily El País, published details of the spying to which he had been subjected. Three years after posting the video, Velasco has finally been brought before a court on criminal charges. The date of the next hearing is not yet known.

(Photo : cadenaser.com)

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