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Story of a Democratic Blackout: Valencia's Public Television Shuts Down (Part 2)

This is the second and last part of a report on the RTVV shutdown. The first part can be found here

The shutdown of public Valencian Radio and Television (RTVV) was a drastic decision on behalf of the Valencian government to silence the critical voices raised against the public entity's management since its inception almost 24 years ago. What provoked the announcement of the shutdown was that on the same day, November 5, the Layoff (ERE) that left a thousand public television workers out of a job was declared void.

In this context, RTVV journalists also talked about another time when they were silenced: in their coverage of the victims of the worst metro accident in the history of Spain.  

Asking the victims for forgiveness 

One of the most shocking and controversial pieces that Canal 9 Televisió issued following the announcement of the shutdown denounced the “forced media silence imposed by the People's Party [the governing Partido Popular]” and asked the victims for forgiveness for the worst metro accident [es] in Spain's history, which occurred on Line 1 of the Valencia metro on July 3, 2006, resulting in 43 casualties and 47 injuries. 

The media and social networks reopened the debate on the treatment of information and Canal Nou's censorship in cases like this metro accident, which coincided with a profuse media and institutional display for the Pope's visit to Valencia in 2006. 

We have incorporated @RTVV's news on manipulation. We need more testimonials and names.

This very year, Salvados [es], a program on la Sexta TV, revealed the content of the documentary 0 responsables (0 responsible) about the judicial treatment of the entire case, and Canal Nou's media censorship in the chapter entitled “The strategy of silence” [es] reported by Frederic Ferri, the same professional that appeared on Canal 9′s screen on November 5 to announce the RTVV shutdown, a journalist that has publicly been very critical of the entity's management [es] and the manipulation of information from the political sphere.

Social networks [es] were also reignited, as they had been after the Salvados broadcast, prompting a collective rejection, rallies in support of the victims of the metro accident [es], and demanding that the prosecution request the case be reopened [es].   

Reactions and consequences 

For its “grand finale,” people took to the streets in defense of “a public Valencian Television Radio, in valenciano and of quality” with the slogan: “RTVV does not shut down. It is yours” and cries of “Resign, Fabra!” (referring to the President of the Generalitat Valenciana, Albert Fabra).  

The demonstration  massive, festive, and demanding  was held on Saturday, November 9 in the three cities (Valencia, Castelló, and Alacant), following four days of Valencians organizing daily “mascletà” displays: a void ERE, the RTVV shutdown announcement, the layoff of the RTVV management team for “lack of confidence in the Consell” after “having not told the truth” [es], the rebellion of the channel's workers, which triples the audience [es] with an independent and uncensored program, and like a wick that quickly ignites on social networks, the final announcement that the Fabra Government will shut down the public television shutdown via an urgent ruling by decree [es], “to control RTVV” and not prolong the agony of a television that at times leaves Fabra and the Consell in the buff.  

The demonstration made opening headlines [es] in the media. Euronews also echoed the events. It was followed by editorials [es], cartoons, and opinion pieces[es] in all of the national newspapers.  

canal9_elpais

The protest could not be followed on RTVV's website, but Canal Nou did great live coverage of the entire event in the three cities: 

#RTVVnoestanca held strong, though after the appointment of the new board, it disappeared from the station's social media account. People using social networks protested, and the @RTVVnoestanca account was created, to continue revealing data about the corrupt conspiracy, and Nou RTVV‘s Twitter account went back to “normal” after its incessant coverage of the stormy days. 

RTVV's union continue to fight to resolve this conflict, which began at least two years ago in a “less serious” [es] way for workers, the public entity, and Valencian society. But the Valencian government spoke of a nonnegotiable closure and, most recently, the predecessors in Radio Televisión Valenciana's management put into question the very democratic mechanisms which, if any, have failed to prevent such use of what is a public service and a media that should ensure the right to information for all citizens: 

Con el fundido a negro de la radiotelevisión valenciana “se cierra un ente público con una Ley de Urgencia que vulnera los derechos de los valencianos a la información, reconocidos en el Estatuto de Autonomía, la Constitución española y la ley de 20 de julio de 2012 del Estatuto de RTVV

With the radiotelevisión valenciana's breakdown “a public entity is shut down by an urgent ruling by decree, which violates Valencians’ rights to information, recognized in the Statute of Autonomy, the Spanish Constitution, and the law of July 20, 2012 in the Statute of RTVV

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