The News Council of TVE, the body that represents the network’s journalists, has ratified, in an extraordinary meeting held last week, the preliminary protection granted to the journalist Anna Bosch, who had denounced “clear intimidation” by the president of the corporation, José Manuel Pérez Tornero, for having spread a tweet critical of the company. In the opinion, the council questions the way in which the management “dialogues” with the staff and demands the president and his entire team “not to resort to these intimidating ways again.”
When evaluating the way in which the investigation has been carried out, the News Council regrets that the collaboration of the parties with the investigation has been “very unequal”. “Neither from the presidency nor from the general secretary has it been good enough to answer the questions sent by the News Council, which, it should be remembered, is an official body of RTVE”, explains the entity, which warns that, as a result, “no only less complete conclusions are obtained than desired, but rather the staff of RTVE informants is led to a scenario of contempt and abandonment”.
In its opinion, the council considers it proven that Pérez Tornero summoned Bosch to his office “unexpectedly and peremptorily” by means of a telephone call, during which the worker was reproached for publishing a tweet from her personal account. “It is absolutely inadmissible that from the presidency of the corporation any grassroots worker, without managerial or editorial positions, is suddenly summoned for consultation to make any kind of reproach. It is not the way, it is not the forms. And even less so if in the background of the discussion is the freedom of expression of the employee”, collects the opinion.
Through a statement, the company’s management had confirmed that, on May 5, the president of RTVE received Bosch at a meeting that had been delayed due to scheduling problems. The note added that, in that meeting, Pérez Tornero transferred the chain’s mechanisms to the journalist to formalize any complaints or reports that he might eventually have. “At all times, when asked by the worker herself, the fundamental right to freedom of expression was defended, which she and the rest of the people who make up the corporation exercise on a daily basis.”
Bosch, in the response brief sent to the council, states that on November 12, 2021 he received a call through the president’s secretary. “The reason for the call was some tweets published by me so that ‘I would convey my opinions about RTVE in person’. In this regard, he proposed a meeting for Monday, November 15 in the morning. To which I replied that it was impossible for me since I was covering an act of the Elcano Royal Institute that same day. He didn’t contact me again until the May 5 afternoon call. Six months had passed.”
Bosch recalls that this meeting was a unilateral proposal and was motivated by the tweet in which he echoed information published by bluper titled “RTVE diverted the budget for promoting RTVE Play to the Great Consultation, a campaign without impact”. in that message, Bosch expressed his surprise at the news and opined: “@rtveplay is where the present is, the competition, the spectators to win, who no longer sit on the sofa at the time we tell them, nor are they going to see us as carnies from square to square. RTVE Play is the free digital platform of the public channel.
During his appearance on Tuesday in the Senate before the RTVE control commission, Pérez Tornero stated that no funds had been diverted. Responding to a question from parliamentarian Inés Sabanés, he assured that the contracts signed by RTVE have complied “scrupulously and rigorously with all legal mandates.” He argued that some published information responds to “a concerted strategy of harassment and demolition of the corporation’s professions” and promised to defend the public entity against “internal and external pressure groups.”
In his complaint to the News Council, Bosch reported that the president had implied that he had “reports or dossiers” on some journalists from the network, such as Xavier Fortes or herself. Pérez Tornero denied in the upper house the existence of such documents. “These reports do not exist. I would not consent to them in any case,” she said. And she added: “Whoever has implied that such dossiers or reports existed, or that we have given them coverage, has falsified the facts.” She remarked that “any advice, any journalist, before making a peremptory sentence, must check the sources, compare the versions and investigate the facts.”
For the council, the behavior of Pérez Tornero does not adjust neither to the specific competences of his position nor to the most basic common sense. “So there is no more than aligning with the informant’s story, which describes a radically asymmetrical context of power in which the feeling of intimidation is inevitable,” exposes the agency.
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