A Significant increase in censorship and monitoring of social media by the spanish government dangerously threatens freedom of expression!
Two months ago, right at the beginning of the installation of the” state of alarm” in Spain, a situation brought about as a consequence of the sanitary crisis induced by the circumstances surrounding covid-19 pandemic, the Enterprise “Newtral” and “Maldita” (Maldito bulo) signed a contract with the social network Facebook, supposedly to certify the veracity of information in the fight against fake news and eradication of false statements.
Now who’s behind those companies? To answer to this question it is important to clarify who composes the spanish government at the moment:
In november 2019, in order to ensure continued control of the government, the spanish socialist worker´s party (PSOE) led by the current spanish president Pedro Sánchez sees itself forced to forge an Alliance with the communist party “Unidas Podemos” leaded by the populist Pablo Iglesias. Having significantly lost popular representation after succesive general elections PSOE reached out to Unidos Podemos and formed a coalition despite Sánchez´ earlier claims that he would never strike a deal with such a political organisation .
In order to maintain a stabil coalition, the socialist party is much obliged to deal with other undesireable groups such as Bildu (political remnants of the ETA terrorist organisation in the Basque country) or the ERC, catalan separatists allied with former CIU (Convergencia i Unió), which, lead by Carles Puigdemont, changed its name to “Junts per Catalunya” so as to avoid associations with the corruption scandal of ilegal financing as estipulated by the court). The same catalan right wing movement later conducted the coup d’état in 2017 which failed in its objective to achieve the Independence of the autonomical region in north east of Spain, objective which proved to be against the will of the majority of the catalan population.
By instigating this coalition Pedro Sánchez betrayed every single electoral promise to his voters, exorcising them in fear of a Frankenstein government conformed by neo-stalinists, apologists of violence through former terrorist groups and catalan independentist national-chovinism. It was indeed Sanchez’s only option if he were to become the new president of the nation and he wouldn’t hesitate to form such a flamboyant Alliance with a combination of minor political movements to appease his political ambitions and reach his goal. And that, is one of the main circumstances that lead to the current sanitary catastrophe in Spain.
Now let’s go back to “Newtral” and “Maldito”, the companies mentioned above, which signed this contract with FB for the purposes of monitoring of social Media only two months ago from the time of writing.
At the helm of these companies you will find spanish journalist Ana Pastor García, who hosts shows on the TV Channel “La Sexta” the political information program “El Objetivo”, produced by “Newtral”. Ana Pastor is the wife of Antonio García Ferreras, chief director of “La sexta” audiovisual corporation which merged with “grupo Antena 3” , to form the actual communication emporium “Atresmedia” (A3M).
We can clearly see the connection between “Newtral” and “Maldito”, made up of working professionals from A3M in conjunction with this big communication emporioum, whose editorial line is notoriously linked to the “hipothetical left wing think tank” attached to the current government.
If this wasn’t enough, it was recently revealed that the capitalist founder of “Newtral” is Joaquín Ortega Casariego, a former councillor of the socialist party during Zapatero’s mandate (former socialist president of the spanish government).
On the 31st of March, during the covid – 19 lockdown, in the middle of a tremendous sanitary crisis due to the lack of PPE, masks, tests and ventilators, Pedro Sánchez announces the subvention of 15 million euros designated to the aforementioned audiovisual corporations (Atresmedia+Mediaset), claiming the importance of “media” for “information management” of the covid crisis.
The virtual monopoly of the public and private TV information (RTVE, national government TV, and the beneficiaries of that 15 million euro grant, Atresmedia and mediaset, (including not only TV but the biggest radio stations) is now in the hands of the same professionals running the fact-checking enterprises “Newtral” and “Maldito” who now monitor profiles and posts on social media.
The result of this enormous “Big brother” operation and the manipulation of the media in Spain has lead to a totally distorted view of the sanitary crisis, bombarding its spanish audience everyday with fake data about the rate of death and infections. An audience which is now exposed to a parallel reality of the worst sanitary crisis of the century, barely depicted in official media but rather disguised as a “ grotesque feast of democracy celebrated on the balconies of the happily confined population”. The fact is that the spanish government implemented the viric disaster not only by ignoring WHO warnings about the upcoming crisis, a) first by denying the adquisition of sanitary material to minder and prevent the consequences of the pandemia, but also b) by allowing the celebration of massive Street demonstrations and marches for electoralist purposes up until the 8th of March, when they had already been informed by the World Health Organization about the imminent danger for the population.
Since then, whomsoever has dared to objectively inform themselves about the real situation of the disastrous ranking of Spain regarding the scale of national victims, has been catalogued by official information channels as “an agitator linked to the extreme right”, no matter their political orientation or profession.
A crazy mccarthian operation of censorship, defamation and ostracism has been implemented against journalists, TV hosts, cartoonists or any other range of professionals not willing to be quiet about the sad reality of probably the worst management of the sanitary crisis in the world, according to official international ratio, in terms of information manipulation and rate of infection among sanitary workers and general citizenship by percentage of the population (Spain is a 47 million people country).
The reality of the spanish government´s, lousy performance, detailed by international media such as NY Times, The Guardian, The financial times or CNN among others has fallen on deaf ears in our national media, and those of us who would appear to rebel against this gigantic conspiracy of government official lies are punished
I’ve been blocked and silenced 5 times by the social network FB since I opened my personal and artist profile now 13 years ago, reaching a rate of subscribers beyond 10.000. Twice for cartoons and information about the catalan coup d’etat in 2017, once for a cartoon considered offensive against the spanish monarchy, another time under pressure of a Trump organisation that was offended by my depiction of the president of the US as a penis, and a last time, after different contents were eliminated during the surveillance of the so called “fact-checking” enterprises in this very lockdown.
As you can see I’m not under suspicion of orienting my professional performance to a unique line of thought since the goal of a cartoonist is to report any kind of abuse or contradiction by the establishment’s power, no matter what line of political orientation they might represent. Those who know me personally and professionally know I’ve paid a high price for respecting the integrity of this beloved profession, and my work is there as a testimony in form of books, articles, newspaper cartoons or TV interventions to prove it. Hemeroteque can’t lie.
I got this notification in my mail this morning, I don’t know and FB never specified the content they talk about being against their norms as an excuse to the total cancellation of my profile, since I’ve been blocked for 7 days now. I haven´t been posting contents for a week now since their umpteenth admonition. My old profile is more than 12 years old and has been literally deleted, you can check if you try to access it, from PC or mobile phone. I had been posting lots of cartoons and newspaper links, related to the terrible gestion of the sanitary system that our new socio-communist government has done. I was curiously being harrassed by Chavistas some days before, previous to the elimination of one of my last posts related with Hugo Chavez daughter as one of the biggest fortunes in Venezuela. Now when I click and try to get back my account, FB administration asks me for a document (which they already have), but when I upload again my IC for identification they block the access anyway. The old profile “Miguel Villalba Sánchez” has also been literally deleted, disappeared, and the page of “Elchicotriste” is still online but I can’t manage it or access it anymore : my artist page was depending on my leading profile “Miguel Villalba Sánchez”, so I don’t have access to it anymore. I’m not the first one, nor the last of the profiles with a certain amount of followers which are suffering from this totalitarian censorship abuse.
I must repeat this as final synthesis: 2 months ago Zuckerberg signed an agreement with Newtral, and Madito (maldito bulo), two organisms dependant on the spanish government to monitor social media, censoring critique about the management of the new minorities coalition government of Pedro Sánchez (socialist) and Pablo Iglesias (communist).They are now in full process of “spanish inquisition”, censoring and eliminating dissident profiles, just like they do in the chavist Venezuela or the Castrist Cuba, but in the heart of a damaged europe, hostigated by regional nationalism and the rise of totalitarian parties of different and yet identical nature: stalinists or fascist nationalists…and this is terrifying.
Please help to denounce and report this dangerous lack of freedom of expression which is of late worryingly on the increase, conveniently manipulated and hidden behind a theoretical state of sanitary alarm which the government uses to eliminate their opponents or simply exterminate objective criticism from independent and apolitical thinkers.
Thanks for your attention.
Elchicotriste, spanish ambassador United Sketches for freedom.