Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I return today to the subject of the Spanish Royal Family and the public’s right to free speech.

I should first state that whilst in Britain I would now describe myself as a Republican as a foreign resident in Spain I have a positive view of this country’s royal family although I accept that some Spaniards do not.

Recently the co-ordinator general of far-left Izquierda Unida, Cayo Lara, pointed the finger at the Royal Family accusing it of being a fiscal paradise. He argued that in recent years the Royal Family has operated as “an opaque fiscal paradise” with a lack of absolute transparency. He added that this has a very negative impact especially at this time of financial crisis.

In an interview with Europa Press the far left politician viewed positively the recent High Court ruling by Santiago Pedraz on the insults that were shouted at King Juan Carlos at the final of the Copa del Rey in Valencia. The judge viewed them as no more than a freedom of expression.

This contrasts with the case of the IU mayor of Puerto Real, José Antonio Barroso, who was fined 6,840 euros in June by judge José María Vázquez Honrubia in the High Court in Madrid. Barroso was answering a case brought by the Ministerio Fiscal that in April last year at a Republican Rally in Los Barrios he had made statements in his speech that were injurious to the king – Juan Carlos I.

So if a soccer crowd shouts insults at the King and boos the Spanish national anthem it is displaying freedom of speech and expression. However if Barroso states his clearly held views on the Spanish Royal Family and the King’s father that is deemed as slandering the monarch.

I am sorry there is something wrong here. Freedom of speech is not something you can turn on or off. Whilst I broadly support the Spanish Royal Family I accept the rights of others to voice their genuinely held views without fear of prosecution. Or if the King felt Barroso had gone too far then he should have gone to court to seek remedy and not the public prosecutor at our expense. After all if Lara is correct, Juan Carlos can well afford it!



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Free speech is free speech. I do not believe you can insite people to violence or murder but if you hold a genuinely held belief you should have the right to state it.