RTVE board members felt they had "right" to spy on news
Broadcaster's supervisors forced to perform U-turn on controversial plan despite considering themselves "the greatest assurance of independence"
In an intense debate among the administrative board of state broadcaster RTVE last September, there were arguments for and against allowing the governing body to controversially check and approve the content of news programs.
Santos Ruesga, the UGT labor union representative, said that access to the broadcaster's iNews IT system was an "unquestionable" right; Socialist Miguel Ángel Sacaluga advocated the control of pluralism a posteriori, while Popular Party member Martín Velasco said "if I wanted access to iNews I could have it now."
The plan to access the news system caused outrage among journalists and in some political circles, where it was said that the board wanted to govern editorial policy.
The proposal, put forward by Popular Party-named board member Rosario López Miralles, won by five votes to two, with four abstentions, but was later rescinded. Only the United Left representative, Teresa Aranguren, was vehemently opposed to the idea, arguing that it would set "a very dangerous" precedent that "opens the way to interference in the work of reporters, and is an attack on professional independence."
López Miralles countered that the administrative board, far from interfering with editorial output, "is the greatest assurance of independence in information."
Others called for an IT manager to explain what the system is and how it works.
After the débâcle, Héctor Maravall of the CCOO stood down and several board members put their positions in the hands of those who named them.