Madrid has promised regional elections but the vote cannot be held fairly in a toxic media environment

Here’s a stinker of a question, the whole concept of press freedom tangled in its own contradictions. If you run a government-financed broadcasting system (say Catalan radio and TV) can some higher authority (say the Spanish state) take control of you when it steps in to run everything?

Maybe an easy problem if we’re talking about independent, truth-seeking newsrooms. But what if that is not exactly possible? See the shades of grey gather. Here’s the EU head of Reporters Sans Frontières, quoted in a new report on the Catalan imbroglio: “The climate for the free exercise of journalism has been tremendously corrupted by extreme polarisation in Catalan politics and society. The regional government’s eagerness to impose its own narrative on to the local, Spanish and international press has crossed red lines, and the intimidating manoeuvres of the central Spanish government have certainly not helped.”

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