El Nacional has decided to not publish any of the videos which have appeared or might appear shortly of the Catalan ministers and pro-independence leaders who have been imprisoned and who are, in our judgement, political prisoners, in Estremera, Soto del Real and Alcalá Meco prisons. And we think that this editorial decision is important enough for us to present and justify it publicly, given the commotion caused by the images already published by two media outlets as different as Catalan newspaper Ara and Spanish television channel La Sexta. Our readers this Thursday haven't been able to see the images which everyone is talking about and which TV3 has broadcast on the great majority of its news and debate programs, including all its news bulletins.
One point first: we're not aiming to turn ourselves into judges of what is right or wrong after a day in which there have been radically different statements from very respectable professionals. But we wouldn't be ourselves if we didn't defend what we do, as we're only a conduit between the information and our readers.
The heart of the debate is the categorisation each of us wants to make of the nine politicians who are spread between three prisons in the vicinity of Madrid. For us, and we've said this from the beginning, they're political prisoners. They're unjustly deprived of freedom due to a political action and the situation of pretrial detention they find themselves in is as unjust as it is inhuman. In these conditions, the supposed news interest of the recording shouldn't take precedence over the respect for privacy, violating it. Only the explicit consent of the three imprisoned ministers or their closest relatives would justify publication. Consent, not awareness, which may sound similar in Spanish, are very different terms. If we look at what lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas said explicitly as he left Estremera this Thursday, and I'm quoting him literally, Junqueras, Romeva and Forn expressed "their indignation for the publication, categorically not agreed to either by them or their families".
This position, if true, and we shouldn't doubt it, should settle any debate. At least, that's our position. And it should be the same for all those who we consider political prisoners. Because, to do otherwise, beyond the legal problems surrounding the recording, which on the one hand the justice system and, on the other, the prison service should resolve, and which deserves a severe punishment, is to enter into a complicated debate about whether those affected come off better or worse, if the images are humiliating for them or not, and about life in prison. We've crossed the red line which marks the political prisoners' exclusive rights to enter into an area of interpretation, discretion and judgements. Junqueras, Romeva, Forn, Turull, Rull, Forcadell, Bassa, Sánchez and Cuixart shouldn't have spent a single night in prison for the facts they're accused of, and the last two have already spent 274 days there!
We think we've made the best decision, but that has to be assessed by our readers who we believe we owe, because many have told us so, an explanation.