Thursday, July 26, 2007

Spanish Royal Family Cartoon Censorship Controversy Continues


The Spanish Royal Family Cartoon Censorship Controversy not only continues, but is becoming a bit of a political football.
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The secretary of the Spanish Socialist Party, José Blanco, demanded that Basque Nationalist Party Senator Iñaki Anasagasti apologize for referring to the royal family as a "bunch of vagabonds" in an article on his blog about the forced withdrawal of last week's El Jueves magazine.
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Anasagasti said the real scandals were things like the royal family's annual two month summer vacations and the King Juan Carlos' recent launch of a new yacht. This boat was the 14th one the king has named Bribón, a name he and his businessman friend José Cuis both use for their yachts.
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Blanco, on the other hand, expressed his own "high respect" for the the Royal Family saying he considered, "their work and activities to be very positive for Spain." Although the Socialist leader brought the matter up in a speech in the Spanish Congress of Deputies, he passed the "pelota" on whether or not charges should be brought against Anasagasti, saying he was not the one who made such decisions. (Does that sound like doublespeak, or what?)
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In other developments:
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El Jueves' web site collapsed last week due to all of the traffic it was receiving.
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Apparently copies of the withdrawn magazine have been selling on EBay for thousands of euros.
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This week's issue printed a "rectification" with a cartoon on its cover depicting Crown Prince Felipe as a bumble bee and Princess Letizia as a flower. The headline read, "Correction: This is the cover we meant to publish!"
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The Government prosecutor in the case decided that while charges against cartoonist Guillermo Torres and writer Manel Fontevilla will stand, they will only face a fine if the case goes to court.
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And today the magazine published another commentary on it's web, which I've translated below:
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"After the monumental mess caused by the forced withdrawal of our magazine; after reading hundreds of sensible articles on the limits to freedom of speech, that seem only to apply to us; after so many civilly active journalists have said we are "coarse" and so many other journalists (?) who bottom-feed on trash-TV have declared us "gross"; after seeing how "progressive" people in Government danced around the issue while an opportunistic opposition party member feigned defending us (almost to the point that we feared finding [Popular Party spokesperson Eduardo] Zaplana chained to the door of our editorial offices in a plea for freedom of speech!); after so many editorials reviling the withdrawal, not because it was unjust, but because it was a counterproductive measure; after hearing that we were a decadent magazine (number 9 in Spain, with 475.0000 readers, according to the latest official figures), after so much nonsense and so much bla,bla,bla, one thing is clearer than ever: El Jueves is only a modest magazine of satirical humor – we do not aspire to more –, but it has the best readers in the world. We are very, very proud of you. Thanks to you all."

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