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Transcript of Catalan Journalists’ Video Against Their Libel Fine

Written by Violeta Camarasa · Translated by Violeta Camarasa On 31 October 2012 @ 13:06 pm | 2 Comments

In Catalan, Citizen Media, Digital Activism, Elections, Freedom of Speech, Health, Human Rights, Media & Journalism, Politics, Spain, Spanish, Weblog, Western Europe

This post accompanies ‘Spain: Journalists Fined After Revealing Corruption in Catalonia [1]‘.

Please find below a transcript of some parts of the video [2]that the editors of the Catalan magazine Cafè amb Llet uploaded to YouTube to comment on their libel sentence and fine [3] [es].

They were fined 10,000 euro on Tuesday October 23, 2012, for libelling Josep Maria Via [4], president of Barcelona MAR Health Park Consortium [5] and healthcare advisor to Catalan President Artur Mas.

The presiding judge, Maria Millán Gisbert, decided that the video the two journalists had uploaded to YouTube last February, ‘El major robatori de la història de Catalunya [6]‘ (Greatest theft in the history of Catalonia) [ca], which strongly criticized the lack of transparency in public healthcare financing, was an act of libel against Mr. Via.

An image from the editors' video commenting on their sentence. [2]

An image from the editors’ video commenting on their sentence.

(The links are ours).

Al vídeo [6]denunciàvem diversos casos d'opacitat a la sanitat pública catalana que implicaven alts càrrecs de CiU i poderosos empresaris afins al partit. Al vídeo, denunciàvem que els hospitals de Blanes i Calella estan amagant, entre d'altres dades, el destí d'1,5 milions d'euros públics gastats en informes. Denunciàvem que Ramon Bagó havia rebut contractes milionaris per les seves empreses privades directament de l'ens públic que ell mateix dirigia. Denunciàvem que és impossible saber el destí de 424.000 euros en 5 anys de l'apartat “despeses de protocol i representació”.

Al cap de poques setmanes de penjar el vídeo [6], va arribar a casa nostra una carta del jutjat alertant que un dels assessors del President de Catalunya, el senyor Josep Maria Via, ens havia denunciat per haver danyat contra el seu honor. Segons aquest senyor, el vídeo atempta contra el seu honor perquè al títol apareix la paraula “robatori” i ell no ha comès cap robatori.

Ens va sorprendre que fos ell qui posava la denúncia. Qualsevol que miri el vídeo [6], veurà que al senyor Via no se l'acusa de cap tipus de delicte, sinó que se'l cita, simplement, com a autor d'un article [7][es] publicat al diari El País. No ens hagués estranyat tant una denúncia dels altres personatges que surten al vídeo, ja que el vídeo sí que posa en qüestió la seua actuació en el maneig dels diners públics.

Amb el pas del temps, però, hem entès per què tots els altres guardaven silenci: tots estaven implicats en casos fins i tot molt més grans del que nosaltres imaginàvem.

Al vídeo [6]pel qual ens han condemnat, demanàvem pels contractes que els hospitals de Blanes havien adjudicat a Ramon Bagó. Encara avui no sabem la resposta, ja que tant la direcció com els alcaldes de la zona amaguen la informació. Però fa dues setmanes, una investigació [8] [es] va confirmar que Ramon Bagó, ex-alt càrrec convergent i Creu Sant Jordi, va rebre 12 milions d'euros de la sanitat pública de manera totalment irregular. 12 milions d'euros que van arribar a les empreses de Bagó saltant-se diverses lleis.

Al vídeo [6]pel qual ens han condemnat, parlàvem d'uns informes que han costat 1,5 milions d'euros als hospitals de Blanes i Calella, uns informes que no hi ha manera que apareguin. Doncs bé, la setmana passada, el que fins fa quatre mesos era president d'aquests hospitals, va ser imputat per haver cobrat 700.000 euros en informes a la ciutat de Reus, uns informes que mai ha vist ningú. Aquest senyor, de nom Carles Manté [9] [es], era gerent de l'ICS. Quan va deixar aquesta feina a la sanitat pública, va muntar una empresa de consultoria sanitària. Al cap de 8 dies, començava a rebre aquests contractes, que en només 4 anys li van reportar 700.000 euros. Per aquest cas també està imputat Josep Prat [10] [es], qui fa pocs dies va dimitir com a president de l'ICS per diversos escàndols descoberts i destapats per l'únic regidor que té la CUP a Reus, David Vidal.

Al vídeo [6]pel qual ens han condemnat també demanàvem el sou de la gerent dels hospitals de Blanes i Calella, la senyora Núria Constans [11]. Doncs bé, un mes després de publicar el nostre vídeo, vam poder saber que ella està implicada en les irregularitats [12]que van causar pèrdues de 2,7 milions d'euros als hospitals de Blanes i Calella.

I no ho diguem nosaltres. Un informe de la Sindicatura de Comptes, va revisar els comptes d'aquests dos hospitals i va trobar un desgavell enorme. Un desgavell que té, entre d'altres protagonistes, el senyor Xavier Crespo [11], ex-alcalde de Lloret de Mar. Segons aquest informe, fet per auditors de la Generalitat, Xavier Crespo i la seva dona van rebre 209.000 euros en pagaments irregulars. A l'informe, per exemple, es pot veure com Xavier Crespo va pagar les seves quotes del Club d'Hoquei Patins Lloret amb els diners de la sanitat pública. Es pot veure com va comprar per 77.000 euros un consultori públic que als ciutadans ens havia costat 154.000 euros.

Tot això, però, no es va fer fins fa poc, ja que CiU i PSC van pactar [13] perquè aquest informe mai veiés la llum. Quan la nostra revista va descobrir aquest informe, els possibles delictes que recollia ja havien prescrit. Ara CiU ha premiat el senyor Crespo amb el número 4 a les llistes per Girona. Així doncs, el tindrem una altra vegada de diputat.

Veient tot això, no estranya que ni Bagó, ni Manté, ni la gerent dels hospitals de Blanes i Calella posessin cap denúncia. I llavors apareix l'assessor de Mas, el senyor Via. El senyor Josep Maria Via ha estat fins fa poques setmanes, company de Bagó al consell d'administració del Consorci Hospitalari de Catalunya, que és, justament, una institució implicada en que Bagó rebés contractes per valor de 12 milions d'euros de manera irregular.

El senyor Josep Maria Via ha estat soci en diverses empreses del senyor Josep Prat, el mateix que està actualment imputat per haver pagat, presumptament, els 700.000 euros a Carles Manté de manera irregular. Està defensant el seu honor el senyor Via o està defensant l'opacitat i els negocis poc transparents de la gent del seu entorn?

Sigui com sigui, avui hem rebut una condemna a pagar de 10.000 euros. Per anar acabant, hi ha una cosa que ha de quedar totalment clara. Portem dos anys publicant informació [14][es] sobre l'opacitat i la manca de transparència a la nostra sanitat. Hem publicat vídeos, articles i fins i tot hem fet un còmic. Doncs bé, ningú, absolutament ningú, ha pogut demostrar cap mentida.

In the video [6] for which we have been fined, we denounced a seemingly prevalent lack of transparency in Catalonia's public healthcare system that imputed CiU senior officials and important businessmen associated with the party. We denounced that the hospitals in Blanes and Calella are hiding, among other facts, the destination of 1.5 million euro worth of tax dollars that were spent. We denounced that Ramon Bagó had received multimillion euro contracts for his private businesses directly from the public funds he oversees. We denounced that it no one knows the destination of 424,000 euro over five years of so-called “protocol and representation expenses.”

A few short weeks after we uploaded the video [6] [ca], we received a letter from the courts alerting us that one of the advisors to the President of Catalonia, Mr. Josep Maria Via, was suing us for libel. According to this man, the video constituted a defamation of character because the video's title included the word “theft” and he hadn't “stolen” anything.

It surprised us that Mr. Via himself brought the lawsuit. Anyone who watches the video [6] [ca] will see that we never accused Mr. Via of anything – we simply criticized him for an article  [7][es] he published in El País. It would not have been suspicious that such a case would have been raised by other high-profile figures in the video, since we had actually questioned their role in the movement of public funds.

As time has passed, however, we have come to understand why figures across the board have kept quiet: everyone has been imputed in cases more severe than we could have ever imagined.

In the video [6] [ca] for which we have been fined, we asked that Ramon Bagó's contracts at the hospitals in Blanes be released. No one has answered that request and the private and public leadership in the region have concealed the information. However, two weeks ago, an independent investigation [8] [es] confirmed that Mr. Bagó had suspiciously received twelve million euros directly from public healthcare funds, twelve million euros that funded – extralegally – Bagó's private businesses.

In the video [6] [ca] for which we have been fined, we spoke about certain reports that costed 1.5 million euro according to the budget of the hospitals at Blanes and Calella. Last week, Carles Manté [9] [es], the former president of these hospitals was imputed for receiving 700,000 in reports in the city of Reus. Mr. Manté was also the manager of the Catalan government's Institute for Public Health (ICS). When he left this position he founded a private healthcare consulting firm. After eight days, he began to receive contracts from these hospitals, reportedly worth 700,000 euro in only four years. Mr. Josep Prat [10] [es], who a few days ago stepped down as ICS president because of various scandals, is also imputed in this case.

In the video [6] [ca] for which we've been fined we also asked that the salaries of the hospitals’ current manager, Núria Constans [11] [ca], be released. One month after uploading our video, we now know that she's also been implicated in the suspicious dealings [12] [ca] that cost the Blanes and Calelles hospitals 2.7 million euro.

And that's not our accusation. An independent audit reviewed the finances of the hospitals and found enormous chaos – chaos that includes, among other protagonists, Mr. Xavier Crespo [11] [ca], Lloret de Mar's former mayor. According to the report, conducted by government officials, Xavier Crespo and his wife received 209,000 euro in clandestine payments. The audit revealed, for example, that Mr. Crespo paid his membership dues to Lloret de Mar's hockey club with tax dollars meant for our healthcare system. He also spent 77,000 euro on an office that would have cost average citizens 154,000 euro.

However, all this wasn't clear until very recently, because CiU and PSC had made a pact [13] [ca] so that this report would never see the light of day. When we discovered this report, the possible crimes that it revealed had already expired. CiU has awarded Mr. Crespo fourth-place on the party ticket in Girona. Therefore, he will once again “represent” us.

Taking all this into account, it isn't strange that neither Bagó, Manté nor the manager of the Blanes and Calelles hospitals brought a lawsuit against us. Enter President Mas's advisor, Mr. Via. Mr. Josep Maria Via has been, up until a few weeks ago, a close colleague of Bagó at Barcelona MAR Health Park Consortium's administrative council, which is an imputed institution, since Bagó had suspiciously received multimillion-euro contracts.

Mr. Via has been a partner in various companies with Josep Prat, the same man who has been imputed for curiously paying Carles Manté 700,000 euro. Is Via defending his honor or is he really working to conceal shadowy dealings of his colleagues?

Today we were fined 10,000 euro. In conclusion, one thing must remain totally clear. We have spent the past two years publishing information [14] [es] about the lack of transparency in our healthcare system. We have published videos, articles, even a comic. No one – absolutely no one – has been able to prove that we have lied at all.

Per cert, els 10.000 euros que hem de pagar no els hem de pagar al senyor Via, ja que aquest senyor és molt solidari: ha donat els 10.000 euros a una institució sanitària, els hospitals de Blanes i Calella.

Els 10.000 euros de la condemna són un cop dur per a una revista com la nostra, amb només dos treballadors i que viu exclusivament de la publicitat que posen els negocis de la zona. El Cafè amb Llet no rep subvencions milionàries de la Generalitat ni contractes amanyats pagats amb diner públic.

Però tot i això, volem deixar absolutament clar que, lluny de callar, lluny de fer un pas enrere, continuarem denunciant la enorme opacitat, la impunitat i la manca de transparència del nostre sistema sanitari.

By the way, we don't have to pay our 10,000 euro fine to Mr. Via. Since this man obviously cares, he has donated the fine to a healthcare institution: the hospitals in Blanes and Calella.

10,000 euro is a serious blow to a publication like ours, with only two workers who live exclusively off the publicity from local businesses who support us. We receive no subsistance from the government — no public money whatsoever.

We want it to be absolutely clear that, far from shutting up, we will continue speaking out against the enormous level of opacity that shrouds our public healthcare system.

No pararem fins saber el destí de tots i cada un dels euros dels nostres diners. Perquè mentre ells amaguen en què s'han gastat els nostres diners, la gent pateix llistes d'espera, pateix manca de metges i paga euros per recepta.

We will not stop until we know the destination of each and every euro of Catalan tax dollars. Because while they are hiding how they are spending our money, people suffer from waiting lists, they suffer from a lack of doctors, and they pay 1 euro to get a prescription.


Article printed from Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org

URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/10/31/transcript-of-catalan-journalists-video-against-their-libel-fine/

URLs in this post:

[1] Spain: Journalists Fined After Revealing Corruption in Catalonia: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/10/31/spain-journalists-fined-after-revealing-corruption-in-catalonia/

[2] video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNNawj7MMVo&feature=youtu.be

[3] sentence and fine: http://www.cafeambllet.com/press/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/sentencia_links.pdf

[4] Josep Maria Via: http://www.lademandadevia.org/?p=18

[5] Barcelona MAR Health Park Consortium: http://www.parcdesalutmar.cat/en_index.html

[6] El major robatori de la història de Catalunya: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=el+robatori+mes+gran+de+la+historia+de+catalunya&oq=el+robatori+m%C3%A9s+&gs_l=youtube-reduced.1.0.0i19.472533.478815.0.480214.18.10.2.0.0.0.838.4623.2j3-3j1j1j3.10.0...0.0...1ac.1.yxfV0Bn6Oss

[7] article : http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2012/02/16/catalunya/1329421437_272006.html

[8] investigació: http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2012/03/19/catalunya/1332118938_332189.html

[9] Carles Manté: http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2012/10/08/catalunya/1349695528_363825.html

[10] Josep Prat: http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2012/06/18/catalunya/1340050678_698728.html

[11] Núria Constans: http://www.cafeambllet.com/press/?p=17387

[12] irregularitats : http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2012/06/14/catalunya/1339683987_001481.html

[13] van pactar: http://www.cafeambllet.com/press/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/sind1.pdf

[14] informació : http://www.lademandadevia.org/es/?p=22

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