Why a master’s in communications and gender matters

In a few hours my colleagues in Barcelona (Spain) are presenting a pioneering graduate program in Gender and Communication. Isabel Muntané and Joana Gallego have built a groundbreaking master’s degree that not only challenges the pillars of traditional journalism, but also the patriarchal-university structure in itself.

At this point, we know that the white-heterosexual journalism is coming to an end, that journalists are no longer in control of news and that the media industry is under global “reinvention”.

And there we are WE, invigorating the journalism we need.

  • because media are key players in building a diverse and feminist society
  • because media should already be informing from the CHANGE our society has been experimenting.
  • because (we) women should no longer be treated in a discriminatory, victimized, infantilized or sexualized way.
  • because media should be at the forefront of applying a feminist perspective into its craft
  • because in the digital age universities should shift too
  • and because the time to build our present-future journalism is here.

Personally, I’m really proud and honored to be part of this pioneering program in my hometown. We cannot know how can we make the most cutting edge journalism, but we can create environments where feminist frameworks and innovation can thrive.

One of the greatest characteristics of this program is that students will have more than 30 professors participating in different skill-blocks. Activists, academics, journalists, data scientists, filmmakers, writers and feminists (from many feminist perspectives) will work together in a diverse, multi-background and healthy non patriarchal ecosystem.

This is the first time the J-School of the Autonomous University of Barcelona offers this kind of program and it’s really, really exciting!

Congratulations for all the work already done and have a good presentation today!

Photo by Rich Anderson cc flickr.
Photo by Rich Anderson cc flickr.

We’ll be part of the Lumen Festival!!

“The Common Pulse” will be showcased at Lumen, the Contemporary Video and Performance Art Festival in Staten Island (NY) this weekend!!! The project is a remix of remixes with images of Home is NOT in the AIR, NYC Home Shuffle and the pulse-sensor installation Collective Pulse.

We are so thrilled with the success of Home is NOT in the AIR and The Common Pulse that we plan to keep collaborating with  Spanish-New York based artist Begonia Santa-Cecilia.

Keep tuned!


Home is NOT in the air from MareaGranate NYC on Vimeo.

Home is NOT in the air from MareaGranate NYC on Vimeo.

¿Por qué un máster de genero y comunicación?

Uno de los motivos porqué me he implicado en el Máster de Género y comunicación es para intentar hacer un periodismo des del “AFUERA” – del que habla la escritora y arquitecta chilena Margarita Pisano:

“Al plantear este AFUERA, me refiero a la posibili-
dad de desprendernos para desmontar el orden sim-
bólico existente y no a estar fuera del mundo. Por-
que el mundo nos interesa y nos interesan los que lo
habitan, consideramos urgente el derrumbe de este
sistema de relaciones violentas y la construcción, a
su vez, de otra cultura macro, a la que no debemos
bautizar, pues se inventará a través de un intercam-
bio humano entre nosotras y luego –no antes– con
otros seres humanos que no serán los tramposos
patriarcas modernos.”

Margarita Pisano “Julia, Quiero que seas Feliz”:

*** Espero se llenen las clases de este Màstery venir a dar clase a Barcelona!! Será una super experiencia para alumnxs y profesorxs!!

master genre

NYC Tenants Project

This is the project I’ve been coordinating during my first semester at NYU.

The students of Studio 20 met with tenants, community organizers, lawyers and academics to try to understand the state of New York housing and its potential future. With the use of video, audio, photography and interactive storytelling, the piece spotlights the loss of approximately 300,000 rent regulated apartments in New York City and prompts us to ask: what kind of city do we want?

FYI: I created the interactivity with a software called Klynt – mainly during my winter break.

Visit the Interactive

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 3.09.06 PM

Sensor Journalism: first day at The Quantified Self About Town

Arduino came into my life in a small black box via shipped mail. My roommates exclaimed in admiration as I felt the fear growing into my belly. It was the same sensation I had back in 2003 when they put a Betacam camera in my shoulder, or they sat me in a dark editing room – for the first time.

I wanted to be writer. A journalist. And I had thought that camera, and those buttons had nothing to do with me.

20150201_190130Check the  collective blog I created for all my class so we can easily follow each other  http://ccurly.org/

There I was 12 years later, coming out of the elevator at Tisch NYU with my arduino-box in my purse, trying to walk smoothly in between the lab atmosphere of the 4th Floor. As if I, from journalism school, knew the building.

This new elective I’m taking is called The Quantified Self About Town. All of my classmates at Studio 20 NYU are taking Data Journalism, but I decided to do something different and I registered in Arlene Ducao‘s course. She is from the MIT Media Lab and a research fellow at at the MIT International Development Initiative. We are about 20 students: half from Tisch, half from CUSP (Center for Urban Science and Progress) and… me. I think I’m the only one from Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute NYU.

First Class
Tuesday February 03 was an introductory class and I noticed how some of my classmates took out their “black boxes” from their bags with my same lack of confidence.

The class last 3 hours. The first part of the class will be a lecture–discussion. The second half will be a hands-on-lab.

Today in this post I will talk about the lab part.

My First Day with Arduino

Sitting next to me I had Tanya Campbell, a student at Tisch who had a tool-box 3 times bigger than mine. She said she liked doing workshops with kids and my neighbor Kania Azrina (from CUSP) and I knew immediately that our first lab session was saved.

We started imitating Tanya and following her instructions.

She introduced us to The Elements Of Our Box:


Arduino_Uno_-_R3  Breadboard (such a funny name!!)

400_points_breadboardBreadboard Wires in 8 colors

wiresA light sensor (or photo-resistor). That’s the sensor  we used in our first practice!

M034796P01WL_grandeResistors (apparently, if we don’t use one of these, we could “burn” something).

Achieve that the red LED goes on when the light sensor “feels” there is less light in the room.

How do we do that?

We plug the wires in the breadboard. We connect the breadboard to the Arduino. We give instructions to Arduino via USB cable from our  Arduino software in our laptop, then the Arduino gives the instructions to the breadboard again.

It’s kind of easy.

Kind of easy, in the sense that if you follow all the instructions as if you are cooking a recipe, it should work.

My friend Nori Yoshida, a visiting journalist-student at Studio 20, explained to me later in a bar the basis of how I should think now: input and output.


“Coding Arduino is simpler than HTML or CSS,” he said. “We have to think in terms of Input and Output”.

And actually that’s what we do when we send code to the Arduino. We say when Input “says” A, output does X.
So when (input), the light sensor, receives light, the LED (output) turns off.

So I tried the thing at home.
(Yes, with the admiration of my roommates).
I copied all Tanya had told me.
the opposite of what I was meant to do.

I was happy because at least I had achieved communication between the LED and the sensor. But take a look at the video:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52SBDUd3OBg&w=560&h=315]

The LED is ON all the time and it turns OFF when there is no light. WRONG!

I took a look at the code. And without really understanding what was happening, I googled another code.

I copied and pasted. ….and voilá! IT WORKED!!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD-SZoDw7-8&w=560&h=315]

Here you have the 2 codes I used. Find the difference.
Nori says maybe it is because in the first code the LED is a “const” (constant).

Proud anyway of my first successful-alone-encounter with Arduino. I kept silent on the sofa thinking of Matt’s Wait quote: “Data journalism, meet sensor journalism. You two should talk.”

Well, there we where.

And the Arduino smiled at the camera.



const int ledPin = 7; // pin that the LED is attached to
int photocell=A0;
int analogValue = 0; // value read from the pot
int brightness = 0; // PWM pin that the LED is on.

void setup() {
// initialize serial communications at 9600 bps:
// declare the led pin as an output:
pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);

void loop() {
analogValue = analogRead(A0); // read the pot value
brightness = analogValue /4; //divide by 4 to fit in a byte
analogWrite(ledPin, brightness); // PWM the LED with the brightness value
Serial.println(brightness); // print the brightness value back to the serial monitor

CODE THAT WORKED (so light if OFF until there is less light)

int photocellPin = A0; // the cell and 10K pulldown are connected to a0

int photocellReading; // the analog reading from the sensor divider

int LEDpin = 7; // connect Red LED to pin 11 (PWM pin)

int LEDbrightness; //

void setup(void) {

// We’ll send debugging information via the Serial monitor



void loop(void) {

photocellReading = analogRead(photocellPin);

Serial.print(“Analog reading = “);

Serial.println(photocellReading); // the raw analog reading

// LED gets brighter the darker it is at the sensor

// that means we have to -invert- the reading from 0-1023 back to 1023-0

photocellReading = 1023 – photocellReading;

//now we have to map 0-1023 to 0-255 since thats the range analogWrite uses

LEDbrightness = map(photocellReading, 0, 1023, 0, 255);

analogWrite(LEDpin, LEDbrightness);



Spain: A Birds Eye View of Surveillance & Censorship Challenges Ahead

Spain: A Birds Eye View of Surveillance & Censorship Challenges Ahead

Authors: Clàudia Prat & Sandra Ordonez

One week after we celebrated the academy Award nomination for Laura Poitras and Citizenfour, the documentary about Edward Snowden, a major storm began in Catalonia. The documentary “Dead City” was broadcasted on Catalan television, sparking an emotional, nationwide debate about police brutality and overreach, torture and government corruption. This comes at the heels of the Ley Mordaza, a law which attempts to stomp out social movements and their coverage by making things such as demonstrations illegal.

This same week we, the authors of this post, were preparing a talk for Techno-Activism 3rd Monday in New York, focusing on the current state of censorship and surveillance in Spain. We were alarmed at the increasing surveillance and targeting of social activists in the past decade we were documenting. This lead to extensive talks about the Spanish Civil War and the Franco era, and the impact its fascist past may still be having on the Iberian country.

The following is a collection of recent events that help contextualize the censorship and surveillance issues Spain is currently experiencing.


Current Challenges in Spain @ a Glance

  • Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the EU at 26%, and a 50% unemployment in Spanish youth. Valencia is the region most hit by the economic downturn, and holds the country’s record for home repossession.
  • Spain’s new public security law, Ley Mordaza (Gag law), has been described as an attempt to stomp out social movements and their coverage. For example, non-sanctioned demonstrations are considered illegal as is their coverage. In addition, it is now legal for police to have blacklists for alternative press, activists and protesters, and perform external bodily searches at their discretion.
  • The Catalan region has their own PRISM-like surveillance program called CESICAT. In addition, in 2014, various “anarchists” were arrested for, among other things, using encrypted email RiseUp. This is troubling since generally strategies are first tested in the Catalan area and then implemented in the rest of Spain.
  • The country has suffered an array of dramatic political scandals of corruption and deception in recent years. This includes discovering that during the Franco era thousands of children from the underclass were stolen by hospital care-takers, many who were Catholic clergy, to be given to adoptive parents seen as more “proper.”
  • Hundreds of family have been evicted from their homes, causing social unrest and sparking strong social movements. For example, the Occupy Movement in Spain, known as the Indignados Movement, witnessed half of the nation’s population occupying public squares.

Ley Mordaza

Spain’s proposed new public security law, known as the Ley Mordaza (Gag Law), passed the lower house of the Spanish parliament in December 2014, and is set to be approved by the Senate in February 2015. Many describe the law as an attempt to stomp out social movements and their coverage. Concerned parties also report that it will give overwhelming power to law enforcement.

In addition, according to Amnesty International spokesperson Maria Serrano, the law deprives migrants of the right to asylum and their guarantee to a right to counsel and effective remedy. El Pais reports that 82% of citizens wanted to change or kill the bill.

Most troubling for many, is the the power it gives to law authorities who: can prohibit any protest if it is deemed that public order will be disputed; have blacklists for alternative press, activists, and protesters; perform external bodily searches at their discretion; perform random identity checks, which may believe will impact immigrants and minorities the most;

In addition, the following actions will be heavily fined up to 30,000 Euros.

  • Recording, photographing or publishing pictures or videos of the police;
  • Demonstrations not formalized by the state;
  • Protesting outside of government buildings;
  • Refusal to identify yourself to a law enforcement officers;
  • Carrying out meetings or assemblies in public spaces;
  • Impeding or stopping an eviction;
  • Disobedience or resistance to authority or its servants in the performance of their duties;
  • Altering public order in a hoodie or any other element that obfuscates your identity;
  • Offending or insulting Spain, the autonomous communities, the local authorities or their institutions, symbols, anthems and emblems; Demonstrating in places deemed as critical infrastructure such as airports or nuclear plants;
  • Celebratory public events that break the prohibition or suspension ordered by authorities.

Dead City: A Documentary that Has Caused Public Outcry throughout Spain for the Torture, Police Corruption and Civil Rights Violations Experienced by Four “Squatters”

The award-winning film, Dead City, is proof that filmmaking is one of our best allies to fight surveillance, censorship and police brutality. It documents the horrible chain of events that began on February 4, 2006, which has caused intense public outcry. For months, various entities tried to keep the film off the air. However, because of its popularity, it was finally broadcasted on January 18, 2015 on Catalan public TV.

[vimeo 86709558 w=500 h=281]

Dead City (Trailer) from 3boxmedia on Vimeo.

In a twist of fate, on the same day of broadcast a judge censured 5 minutes of the film. In response, social networks began to buzz and the 5 minutes went viral. At 10:25pm audiences of all ages sat in front of their TV as though it was an important soccer match, and thus achieving a record number of spectators.

What Happened on February 4, 2006?

On February 4, 2006, over 800 people gathered in a “squatted” building in Barcelona’s city center. The police started a baton charge outside the building with the hopes of eventually evicting the squatters. In response, individuals from the top levels of the building began throwing objects. This included a flower pot that hit a police officer and put him in a coma eventually leaving him in a vegetative state. While various witnesses saw the flowerpot being thrown from the top of the building, the police arrested nine people that were on the street level. For 4 of those 9 people, what followed was a case filled with irregularities, corruption, and torture, and eventually lead to a guilty charge of murder despite strong challenging evidence.

It didn’t go without notice that the four prosecuted were from marginalized communities: three had a Latin American background, and the one female, Patricia Heras, was part of the LGBTQ community. In a tragic turn of events, the constant torture they experienced, caused Patricia to commit suicide while in prison. Additionally, in an unrelated racially charged case, several of the arresting officers were later found guilty of torturing a man from Trinidad & Tobago.

View the film here 

The case became known as the 4F case and was barely covered by the Catalan or the Spanish press. Only journalist Jesús Rodriguez from the alternative newspaper La Directa, kept an active investigation, and eventually joined the documentary’s filmmakers at Metromuster. The torture experienced by the detained, however, did get the attention of Amnesty International.

Metromuster logo
Metromuster´s logo

Squatters and Activists in Spain: From Dirty Menace to Saviors of the Homeless

The film has also served to shed a light on the police’s profiling of “squatters,” which is tainted with racism, xenophobia, and homophobia.

The squatter movement began nearly 30 years ago in Barcelona, and its ideas and organizing have fueled popular networks like  the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages – a movement that has been well received by hundreds of families that have been evicted since 2008 because of bad mortgages and a worse economy.

For Spanish law enforcement and a percentage of the general public, the term “squatters” is used for anyone that looks a certain way, regardless of their lifestyle. As such social activists, protesters and others were placed under the same label. This is significant since “squatters” were seen as unacceptable, dirty, and an element that needed to be put under control. The 4F kids were arrested because they dressed a certain way. Ironically, Patricia Heras was a goth and was outraged that she was mistaken for a squatter, jokingly stating that she was more glamourous. When the 4F arrested it was not uncommon to hear people state, “ thats what you get for dressing that way.”

This view, however, has begun to change as more people benefit from social activism initiatives – and that number is quite large. Of all the countries in the EU, Spain has the highest unemployment rate at 26%, and a 50% unemployment in Spanish youth. In addition, the country has suffered an array of dramatic political corruption scandals. This includes making public that during the Franco era, which technically ended in 1975, thousands of children were stolen by hospital care-takers, many of which were Catholic clergy, and given to more “respectable” and “proper” adoptive parents.


The Occupy Movement of Spain: Branding Protesters as Violent Terrorists.

The Occupy Movement in Spain, known as the Indignados Movement, witnessed half of the nation’s population occupying public squares. Yet and still, the mainstream media began branding protesters as “the violent ones” even though it was later revealed that many of the violent incidents were purposely sparked by undercover police, and the media never bothered to verify those rumors. 

The Catalan Police seized this moment to conduct a witch hunt of protesters. In a gesture of “surveillance innovation,” they built a website in 2012 asking citizens to collaborate in finding protesters whose pictures were upload to the site.


The Catalan PRISM

Most alarming, in 2013 it was revealed that in 2009 the Catalan government had created their own PRSIM-like surveillance program called CESICAT. Thanks to documents leaked by Anonymous, we discovered that the program was being used to track journalists, activists, and lawyers. While CESICAT has not been really covered by the Spanish press, in 2014 the Center of Data Protection of the same Catalan government fined CESICAT for gathering unpermitted data of photojournalist Jordi Borràs, who denounced the case.

Security is Not a Crime Unless you are an “Anarchist”

In December 2014, 11 people were arrested and their electronics seized in different social centers and squats in Catalonia. It was known as “Operation Pandora” and brought hundreds of policemen to the oldest squat in Barcelona. The use of Riseup.net, or rather encrypted communications, was cited as one of the reasons the arrest happened. However, the police claimed they were terrorists, even though it is still not precise what kind of “terrorist” attack they had allegedly perpetrated. Today 7 of those 11 arrested people are still kept in Madrid prisons under secrecy order. Notably, the police branded these people as “anarchist” indepedent of whether they identified as such.

Decline of a free Press

In March of 2014, Spanish police attacked and injured seven journalists who were attempting to cover a violent arrest during a demonstration in Madrid. Throughout the year, other journalists have reported being prevented by law enforcement from taking photographs and gathering information during protests, and experiencing verbal and physical abuse.

Earlier this month, journalists at Spain’s state broadcaster RTVE started a sit-in to protest the arrival of the new heads of news, Jose Antonio Alvarez Gudin, who was previously at the right-wing daily newspaper La Razon. The journalists believe that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government is trying to tighten its control of the network ahead of 2015 legislative and local elections. Two of the country’s biggest unions, Commissioners Obrerars and the General Workers Union, have publicly stated that they feared the government was trying exercise greater control in an attempt to manipulate the news.

The 2013 Freedom House report noted increased self-censoring in the Spanish journalism world and a drop in quality reporting. The same report cites a 2013 survey of 1,700 Spanish journalists where 80% of respondents said they had been pressured into changing or removing content.

*** Update. All the detainees of Operation Pandora were released the 30th January 2015.

Agile in the Newsroom / Redaccions Àgils


At Studio 20 were I am studying (a graduate program at NYU focused on innovation in journalism) this semester we are teaming up with Storyful (a start-up that finds news on the social web and verifies it) in hopes of answering this question: what does it take to create a more agile newsroom?

Follow our blog for further information:



És possible implementar els conceptes de programació “àgil” a les redaccions dels diaris i TVs?

Aquest és un dels projectes que estem fent al Màster Studio 20 NYU. És un projecte conjunt amb l’agència de notícies Storyful (una start-up que és dedica a verificar contingut dels social media i que acaba d’arribar a NYC adquirda per News Corp).

Com créixer i mantenir-se àgil? Com innovar enmig de les rutines productives? Com construir processos àgils entre totes les parts de l’empresa?

Podeu seguir algunes de les nostres respostes al nostre blog:


Collective art featured at the People’s Climate

[vimeo 106502466 w=500 h=281]

Click here to see the complete article + the slideshow that we have published with “Bedford and Bowery”! Watch Preparations For Sunday’s Epic Climate March, Then Join In

Organizers say it will be an historic moment: this Sunday, more than 1,000 businesses, unions, schools, social justice collectives, environmental groups and more will be marching together against climate change. With the UN Summit on climate crises taking place in NYC on Tuesday, activists say the time is right for a big street presence and are making up huge banners, puppets, giant trees and pipelines .

“Art can be at the DNA of your organizing and this has been our strategy”, says Gan Golan of the Mayday Arts Team People: “We are going to communicate big stories about climate change and the ways communities are responding.”


Dicen que será un momento histórico en Estados Unidos. Este domingo más de 1.000 coemrcios, escuelas, sindicatos, colectivos sociales, medio ambientales y más se manifestarán en las calles de NYC. Con el UN Summit sobre la crisis climática teniendo lugar este martes en la ciudad, lxs activistas piensan que es el momento de estar en la calle.

“El arte puede ser el ADN de tu forma de organizar y esta ha sido nuestra estrategia” dice Gan Golan del Mayday Arts Team People: “Vamos a contar las grandes historias sobre cambio climático y como las distintas comunidades están respondiendo”.

Slideshow no disponible en castellano.

Entrevista a Grace Lee Boggs

Grace Lee Boggs tiene casi 100 años y su pensamiento humanista vigoriza la devastada ciudad de Detroit (norte de Estados Unidos). Si la conocida como Motor City se convirtió en el símbolo del «sueño americano», hoy sus inmensos terrenos parecen un escenario de posguerra: gigantescas calles vacías, solares abandonados y abun-
dante pobreza. Click here to read the full interview

Screenshot 2015-02-07 02.30.51

Community Media Resisting on both sides of the Atlantic

Text by Friction Films and Clàudia Prat

[versión en español]

Existence becomes resistance for community media when the state puts continuous barriers, threats and attacks in their path. LaTele.cat in the Americas writes…

Just arriving in Mexico City DF and a call to demonstrate against the new Telecommunications Law arrives in my Facebook feed. Meanwhile, an *urgent* call for support arrives in my inbox from LaTele.cat, the self-organised television channel of Barcelona which has been hit with a fine of 500,001 Euros by the government of Catalonia. I head to the demonstration in Mexico City and I’m struck by the resonance between community medias on either side of the Atlantic.


In reality, the demonstration is an “Informative Meeting” (Assemblea Informativa), co-organised by several media collectives in the city. The meeting is being held at the feet of a strange towering sculpture called the “Estela de Luz” which cost the city millions of dollars, and which has not only become a symbol of political corruption, but also a symbol of resistance as protests increasingly gather there and the pavement has been imprinted with names of people disappeared in narco-conflicts. The “Informative Meeting” is being re-transmitted through the airwaves by Radio Ajusco, a community radio in the southern outskirts of the city which was created in 2012 to inform the people of Ajusco village about the Presidential elections in July that year.

Asamblea Informativa


At the meeting, people from the organising groups speak before sharing the microphone with the crowd. In less than a month, the new Telecommunications Law will come into force, despite significant social mobilisations and criticism nationally and internationally. Organising around the hashtags ‪#EPNvsInternet and ‪#MarchaContraElSilencio, a viral protest has already warned that the law will enable government and corporate control and surveillance of the internet, phone use, and media in Mexico. An activist from CODEC (Collective for the Right to Communicate / Colectivo por el Derecho a la Comunicacion) explains their indignation to the meeting:

“The government, WITHOUT any judicial order or regulatory framework, will be able to access all our metadata from one year ago until the present day. Telephone and internet companies are obliged to store all your data so that any authority can request your data at their convenience.

… What most bothers us about the law is the issue of social media and community media like Radio Ajusco. One of the principle ways to democratise a country is to ensure that there are a diversity of voices. Which doesn’t mean that they open another channel and another businessman gives his vision of the world through this channel. That is no way to ensure a diversity of voices in the media. Diversity means that each different sector of the society has the possibility to participate in the media, articulate their reality, communicate it to the world, and receive, and receive and receive information.”

An activist from YoSoyRed (I Am Network/Internet) analyses the Mexican mainstream media’s relationship with social media, drawing conclusions for ways we can work together:

“I believe that Televisa, Carlos Slim and TV Azteca* think that with this law, they can oblige people to watch a certain media content. However, what we have realised is that the social networks belong to us. Read Televisa’s reports for the first quarter of 2014, and see how they blame social networks for a 35% loss in their audiences. That means that the internet, social networks, videos, the things that we share in the internet, really are weakening them, and this is the way that we really can beat them. We just have to communicate better, use networks, go beyond talking amongst ourselves. The idea for this meeting, together with CODEC, is that we start to talk about proposals… My proposal is that we create a kind of Wiki where we can connect with people from other states, and from there we can collect signatures and start to offer workshops so that people can create blogs, strengthen campaigns that already exist, and support organisations that are already doing something… Lets unite in a battle for the freedom of expression.

Summarising, we have to get signatures from 50 senators in order to make a constitutional challenge against the Telecommunications Law. And the other way, the harder way, the way that Televisa is really scared of, that the traditional media is really scared of, is the network. Lets occupy the internet, publish good work through online networks, because that is the way they are losing money, because that is why they made this law, and if we carry on using networks without fear, this is how we are going to win.”


As explained by the CODEC activist, “diversity” means that each sector has it’s own media, and this is the legal struggle that LaTele.cat in Barcelona finds itself in. LaTele.cat is a self-organised television channel in Barcelona which started online in 2003 as part of the mobilisations against the Iraq War, going on to broadcast in analogue before starting to broadcast on our digital channel from 2011. Many times in the meetings of LaTele, we comment that making our own community media makes us stronger, and we’ve been learning and doing collectively for 12 years now.

This summer we received a letter outlining a fine of 500,001 euros from the Director General of Communication Media of the Catalan Government. Our email list quickly started spreading the word, and we put ourselves on alert. Although many of us are not in the daily running of LaTele at the moment, although some of us have crossed the Atlantic and are roaming the Americas, we are many those who will step forward for LaTele. This is the second time that the Catalan government has started a disciplinary procedure against LaTele, trying to fine us. The first time was in July 2007, when they wanted to fine us 60,000 Euros. Now, seven years later, with a strong sense of deja vu, we receive another threat, 8 times bigger, and we begin another fight against what we consider to be an illegitimate disciplinary procedure.

Spanish and Catalan law says that we DO have a RIGHT TO EXIST (as a media of the “third sector”, not public, not private). However, we are still waiting for the procedure that will allow us to apply for a licence. And yet they hit us with this enormous fine. As in 2007, we hope that our collective strength will stop the fine.

Multa a la Tele


In Barcelona, the Catalan government tries to silence the ONLY non-profit television channel with a huge fine. In Mexico, the new Telecommunications Law directly empowers the state with the ability to block telecommunications in any area at any time they consider it necessary: the so-called “zones of silence”. Keeping up the theme, the wide-ranging powers in the Telecommunications Law which allow your data to be accessed, searched and sold, have all the ingredients to create a climate of fear and self-censorship, an insidious form of silencing which has deep effects on the heart and soul of a people.

Bloggers in Mexico are working against the silence, using hastags #HackeandoLaLey, #OcupaElEspectro and #UstéDisculpe. Wryly noting that “they like it when you get indignant in private and you keep quiet in public”, they are articulating the sadness and indignation which the new Telecommunications Law has induced, asking:

“Why? Why all the spying and trampling on our freedom? Why attack the Mexican people, who have already been hit hard by the economy? Why go further and take away their internet.. their free-time, research, fun, activism, support…?”

Working against the silence on the other side of the Atlantic, LaTele.cat continues to struggle for our RIGHT TO EXIST, and that’s why we continue to broadcast without a licence.

Existence becomes resistance. That’s why LaTele and all other community media want to, and HAVE TO, keep broadcasting, keep writing, keep making videos, keep meeting, keep listening, keep speaking. And that is how we build our strength.






*Televisa and TV Azteca are two commercial TV channels which dominate Mexican media. Carlos Slim is the richest man in the world, and chairman and chief executive of telecommunications companies Telmex and América Móvil.


With different members of LaTele.Cat that we are now in Las Américas we have started a collective blog. This is a post written with Friction Films, just after she landed in D.F Mexico. Visit all our blog.