THE US State Department has slammed the political parties of Vox and Podemos over their ‘concerning’ treatment of the media in the annual human rights report published on Wednesday.

Taking up allegations by human rights groups, It also singled out Pablo Iglesias, the former Podemos leader and deputy prime minister in the coalition government, for ‘verbally harassing’ journalists and the media.

Specifically, the report quotes Iglesias in a speech in Spain’s Congress on February 2021 when he accused the media of being a “weapon of corporate power”.

It also mentioned a complaint from the Spanish Press Association over a Madrid electoral campaign video produced by Unidos Podemos. In it, they used images of journalists for “the purposes of intimidation” and as an “attack on the free exercise of journalism”.

Concerning Vox, the document reports complaints by NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF). 

“RSF and other rights groups expressed concern that the opposition Vox party sought to stigmatise journalists through virtual harassment and by banning media outlets from covering its events, notably its campaign rallies, ahead of the regional elections in Madrid on 4 May,” the text reads.

Speaking about Spain in general, the report highlights complaints that the Spanish government limited the ability of journalists to cover the covid-19 pandemic and the arrival of migrants in the Canary Islands, “specifically by limiting the ability of photographers to certain locations”.

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