Jordi Juan Director La Vanguardia
Pablo Hasél | Third night of protests in several cities of Spain, live (Afp)
The waves of protests that are taking place in various Spanish cities as a result of the arrest of Pablo Hasél are beginning to acquire a magnitude that exceeds the specific case of the rapper’s criminal situation. Thousands of young people are taking to the streets to show their displeasure against the established power that, as always, is usually represented by the police. The violence of these latest riots should be condemned clearly and without looking for any excuses by everyone, but especially by political parties that should set a civic example.
These actions cannot be justified in any way, as is being done with the debate on the lack of freedom of expression. We have written here that nobody should go to jail for what they say, but if their manifestations enhance hatred or provoke violent attitudes they should be judicially punished. The Government is on this path and that is why it is proposing a reform of the Penal Code.
That said, it is quite insulting to compare this alleged attack on Hasél’s freedom of expression with the cases that this country suffered in the 1970s. On July 23, 1975, the first press strike in Spain took place in protest at the arrest of journalist Josep Maria Huertas Claveria, who was subjected to a very summary court martial for information published in the newspaper Tele / Expres. A short time later, in 1979, another journalist, Xavier Vinader, had to flee to France to avoid a seven-year prison sentence imposed by the National Court for information published in the magazine Interviú.
Notice the difference. Freedom of expression was requested in the seventies to try to inform in a country where the Franco regime continued to have power. Today, freedom of expression is requested to be able to insult as rapper Hasél does with his songs. The nuance is very important and it may not hurt to ask for a bit of caution when making these comparisons. Whoever signs this may be very critical of the Administration of Justice and with some sentences that they do not share at all, such as the condemnation of the pro-independence leaders. But he can write it down and share it. We are not in the Franco regime.