Spain’s PRISA group boycotted by the PP

Popular Party vetoes Spain’s largest media group

Last weekend during a rally, Spain’s main opposition party called on all its members to boycott PRISA, Spain’s largest media group in response to comments made by Prisa’s chairman during a shareholders meeting, in which Jesús de Polanco, referred to the PP as a radically rightwing party who supported Francoist demonstrations, expressed his private desire for a strong, conservative, non-extremist opposition and claimed it was difficult for the media group he chairs to remain neutral faced with the present opposition.

Mariano Rajoy and PP leaders have ordered PP members not to attend interviews, talks or debate programmes organized by any media owned by PRISA, including newspaper El País, radio station Cadena Ser and television channel Cuatro. Although Rajoy has insisted that he does not want to enter into controversies he repeated his call for a boycott while on a visit to Berlin where he met with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel earlier this week.

Gabriel Elorriaga, the Press Officer for the PP reminded party members that they should follow the orders of their leader and is reported to have said that appropriate decisions would be taken if anyone breaks the boycott.

Over the past few days some PP members, including the Mayor of Madrid, Alberto, Gallardon, have broken the embargo and made declarations to Cadena Ser, but all Popular Party members who are regular guests on the political news and debate programms which are very popular on Spanish television and radio have withdrawn their participation this week, although some have expressed their regret and have indicated that they have done so in order to comply with party policy (rather than through any conviction of their own). PP candidates in the forthcoming local and regional elections have cancelled all advertising campaigns they had signed with PRISA.

All other political parties in Spain have criticised the Popular Party for this radical decision and critics claim it shows how the PP prefers censorship to the right of free speech.