In Spain under the regime of General Franco freedom of speech is not the most respected civil liberty.
Freedom of the press is restricted by strict laws and breaches of these regulations result in fines for newspaper editors.
Every organ of communication in Spain is in the absolute control of the state.
However, some newspapers like 'Madrid' are prepared to take risks. The newspaper has also had to pay the price having been suspended from publication for four months, an example of the restrictions under which Spanish journalists must operate.
It is a reminder too of the power which is exercised by the Ministry of Information and Tourism, a ministry which controls not only the press but radio, television, and magazines.
Now back in publication, 'Madrid' is printed every day at three o’clock. However, before the newspaper goes into full print, half dozen copies are run off and taken to the offices of the press censors, part of the Ministry of Information and Tourism.
If the censors object to anything in the paper, they telephone the editor and out it must come or the edition be withdrawn.
No criticism of government policy or the head of state President Franco is allowed.
Foreign Editor of ‘Madrid’ Antonio Sanchez Gijon speaks about experiences with the censors and the reasons why the paper was closed for four months. He also explains that newspaper circulation in Spain is relatively small. The ‘Madrid’ newspaper, which focuses mainly on the Madrid region, has a distribution of around one hundred thousand.
This episode of ‘Wednesday Report’ was broadcast on 18 March 1970. The reporter is Patrick Gallagher.
‘Wednesday Report’ was a weekly current affairs programme presenting a report on and an analysis of a matter of public concern, at home and abroad.