Concerns include abuse of defamation laws, regulation of broadcast media, and the right of access to information

Madrid, 26 November 2014 – A mission of international freedom of expression experts will visit Spain during 1-3 December 2014 in order to gather information about levels of press freedom, freedom of expression and the right of access to information.

The first mission of its kind, it is led by the International Press Institute (IPI) in coordination with Access Info Europe, and includes representatives of leading media freedom groups including the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), the European Federation of Journalists, and the Open Society Foundations (OSF).

This mission comes after a letter sent to the UN Human Rights Committee on 17 October 2014 by these organisations raised serious concerns about freedom of expression in Spain.

The primary concerns are abuse of defamation laws to pressure the media, lack of independent broadcast regulation – Spain is the only EU country without an independent regulator-, and a lack of government transparency with a very weak access to information law coming into force on 10 December 2014.

The goal of the mission is to gather information about these concerns through meetings with journalists associations, key media outlets, civil society organisations and the human rights ombudsman. There will also be discussions with key civil society figures who recently established the Platform for Defence of Freedom of Information, an new group dedicated to defending media freedom in Spain.

To date, neither the Moncloa (the Prime Minister’s and Cabinet Office) nor the Ministry of Justice have confirmed a meeting in spite of repeated contact.

The mission will visit Madrid (1-2 December) and Barcelona (3 December).

First International Defamation Training 27-28 November

Just prior to the International Mission, there will be a training for journalists and lawyers on international standards on limiting abuse of defamation laws to pressure critical journalists.

The first panel of the training is open to all journalists. It will take place at 10 hrs on 27 November at the Asociación de la Prensa de Madrid and will include national experts Borja Bergareche, Antonio Rubio, Pilar Velasco and Juan Luis Ortega as well as representatives of IPI, Access Info and the London-based Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI).

More information about the training, including the panel, can be found here and can be followed in live streaming here:

For more information, please contact:

Victoria Anderica | Access Info Europe  +34 606592976