The Latest: Media group protests harassment in Catalonia

AP Photo
The Associated Press

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on Catalonia’s bid to hold referendum on independence from Spain (all times local):

12:55 p.m.

A media watch dog says pressure by the Catalan government and social media harassment by “hooligans ” of the pro-independence movement is making for a suffocating atmosphere for journalists trying to cover the planned Oct. 1 independence referendum in the northeastern Spanish region.

A report by Reporters Without Borders on Thursday said the regional government’s drive to impose its side of the story in local, Spanish and international media has “crossed the red lines.”

It added that Spanish authorities’ judicial measures against Catalan media to stem propaganda for the referendum have created an atmosphere of extreme tension.

Spokeswoman Pauline Ades-Mevel called on Catalan authorities to come out against the stigmatization of Spanish media, saying it smacked of electoral campaigns such as those of Donald Trump and other “reactionary movements.”

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11:25 a.m.

Catalonia’s foreign affairs chief has appealed for support from the European Union before a disputed referendum calling for independence from Spain.

Raul Romeva, speaking to journalists Thursday in Brussels, said that EU institutions need to “understand that this is a big issue.” Romeva spoke a day after Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont accused the EU, in an interview with The Associated Press , of “turning its back” on Catalonia in its conflict with Spain’s central government.

Romeva accused the Spanish government of a “brutal crackdown” on Catalan officials to try to prevent Sunday’s referendum, which Spain considers to be illegal, and that it’s “generated an unprecedented level of shock.”

He said that he doesn’t expect violence, because “it’s not in the Catalan DNA to use violence to solve political problems.”

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