First RTVE board member resigns over censorship scandal

CCOO union representative abstained in vote on proposal to monitor broadcasters' newscast material

The representative of the CCOO union on the state broadcaster RTVE's administrative board resigned on Friday following the upheaval this week over a controversial proposal that would have allowed members to pre-censor television and radio newscasts before they are aired.

Héctor Maravall handed in his resignation to CCOO secretary general Ignacio Fernández Toxo after it became known that he had abstained in Wednesday's voting on the controversial proposal. The plan, which was presented by the PP-appointed board member Rosario López Miralles, was rescinded on Friday following a nationwide backlash from politicians and journalist associations who charged that the board wanted to govern editorial policy. The measure was approved by the Popular Party and the board's Catalan nationalist CiU bloc representative, with the Socialist, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and the CCOO members abstaining. Only the United Left (IU) and the UGT union members voted against.

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"The CCOO believes that the decision made by Héctor Maravall, who has a long career of fighting for freedom and the rights of workers, and for public services in favor of broadcasting, is an honorable and coherent gesture that should serve as an example," the union said in a statement.

By resigning, Maravall "stands above all the insults and criticisms" that board members have received, the statement continued.

Following Friday special meeting of the board, members also issued their own statement.

"It was never the intention of the board members to vote in favor of the measure. Nor was the intention of those who abstained to demonstrate that they were tacitly approving it indirectly. We never intended to interfere with the work of professional journalists, let alone try to place restrictions on their professional independence."

Board members were called together for a tense meeting with Televisión Española (TVE) general manager Santiago González, TVE news director Fran Llorente, Radio Nacional Española (RNE) director Benigno Moreno and an official representing the chairwoman of the TVE news council Yolanda Sobero, who is away on a trip.

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