Spain: social media to be censored? “Not everything is appropriate”

By EDRi · May 21, 2014

Isabel Carrasco, president of the county council of León, was murdered on 12 May 2014. The tragic episode derived in a multitude of opinions throughout the internet. Some netizens extended their sympathy to her family, while others decided to convey a very different message, using Twitter, Facebook or YouTube to celebrate the news; to joke about the incident and to criticise the victim.

As a result of the abusive comments some citizens have been arrested for inciting violence and their Twitter accounts have been closed. Others will allegedly be subject to criminal investigations which may result in conviction for promoting terrorism or violence, or for committing offences against moral integrity, slander or libel. Furthermore, two regional politicians were forced to resign after commenting the events through social networks.

The reactions to Carrasco’s death have lead to calls from politicians, pleading for stricter regulation of social networks. The police union “Unión Federal de Policía” and the Socialist health spokesman José Martínez Olmos explained the reasoning behind their declarations, both choosing the same expression to present in their statements:

”Not everything is appropriate”.

There have been various proposals for how to regulate the social media, among which an idea of establishing an observatory, a code of conduct, a set of criteria for interventions by public authorities, and mechanisms to facilitate identifying social media users.

Elsa González, president of the Federation of the Spanish Press Associations, called for clear distinctions to be made between social networks and the traditional media.

The Spanish Ministry of Internal Affairs issued a report on the developments , which will be analysed by public prosecutors, who will then decide on what they believe to be the appropriate measures to be adopted.

Spanish Government threatens to censor social media (17.05.2014)

Are Spaniards justifying politician’s murder? (15.05.2014)

New offence for violence on the internet (only in Spanish, 13.05.2014)

Urge to regulate the use of social networks (only in Spanish, 13.05.2014)

FAPE urges for differentiating between journalism and social media, following the murder of Isabel Carrasco (only in Spanish, 13.05.2014)

(Contribution by Maryant Fernandez Perez – EDRi intern)