Parliamentary Group Called for a Ban on Broadcasts of Mass on Public Television

Country: Spain

Date of incident: February 20, 2017

Category: Government Restrictions

Attack against: Faith

Area of case: Anti-Religion or humanism groups / Governmental

A parliamentary group in the Congress of Deputies presented a proposal calling for broadcasts of Mass on public television be prohibited, which they ask to be considered/debated by a commission that oversees RTVE, Spain’s public television station, and its affiliates.

In a February 20, 2017 letter to the Congress of Deputies, a member of Izquierda Unida, acting as joint spokesman for GCUP-EC-EM, and a member of EUPV-A (la Valenciana-Unidos Pdoemos), pointed to Article 16.3 of the Spanish Constitution to justify the proposal.
That article, they say, establishes that since the country is a non-confessional state, no religious group shall have any kind of state character or support. In addition, RTVE, as a public entity, has the responsibility of providing independent and verified information, with a “critical and participatory vision”, and its professionals have the obligation of offering the public content that supports freedom of opinion, a critical spirit, and a sense of social cohesion among citizens as members of as shared democratic space. RTVE thus must represent the entire population and cannot favor any one religion, creed, or ideology.
They then go on to state that Spanish society is diverse and that people with many different ideologies and different religious beliefs – Catholic, Muslim, Evangelical, Orthodox, atheist, agnostic, and Jewish – live there. These are all quite legitimate ways of understanding the world, they state. And since it would be impossible to give to each and every one of these ideological systems and belief groups their own expression on public television, and in order to ensure that no one feels discriminated against, the best option is to cease broadcasts of all religious rites.