A journalist is sanctioned with the Gag Law for his coverage of Arguineguín

A journalist is sanctioned with the Gag Law for his coverage of Arguineguín

File photo. / c7

Javier Bauluz is receiving messages of support from numerous colleagues and various civil rights organizations


The government has sanctioned
800 euros to the photojournalist Javier Bauluz, 1995 Pulitzer Prize, for two infractions of the Citizen Security Law attributed to him by a police officer on account of an episode that occurred on December 2, 2020 at the Arguineguín dock.

"That day was a historic day," he recalls to Efe Bauluz. «It was the first day that Salvamento arrived with a rescue in Arguineguín after the dock ceased to be a concentration camp with 2,700 people on the ground; It was the day in which the rules of the game changed, in which we were going to see if they would let us work a reasonable distance or if they would move us back to 200 meters.”

The Asturian photojournalist, who covered the migratory crisis in the Canary Islands for El País for months, had arrived at the pier when the Maritime Rescue ship docked, before the usual police force was deployed.

He approached and began to shoot the photos that he had been claiming to take for a long time, at a distance that would allow him to portray the immigrants.
"like people", not as a "faceless mass." And he was not alone, several tourists were walking along the pier at that moment.

What happened next is recorded in a video that Bauluz has posted on his social networks: two police officers approach him, order him to move away and, while he walks with one of the officers towards where they indicate him, the other grabs him from behind of the left arm. The photojournalist withdraws his arm in surprise and shakes his hands so they don't catch him: "Don't touch me!", he is heard saying.

“They know where they grab you, on a nerve. I felt like a whiplash and raised my arm in pain, instinctively, and I kept lifting it so they wouldn't catch me“, he recounts a year and a half later.

For these facts, Bauluz has been sanctioned for two infractions of the Citizen Security Law: disrespect for a policeman (700 euros) and refusal to identify himself (100). The journalist denies that he disrespected anyone and, regarding the second charge, he only underlines that in the video he is seen handing the DNI to the agent.

“He told me that he was going to report me. When she came back from her van, she came with two papers. Is this second one a copy? I asked him. He told me no, that it was another complaint for refusing to identify myself... All this while he returned my ID. It was surreal," he complains.

Bauluz, who these days is receiving messages of support from numerous colleagues and various civil rights organizations, records everything that happened in the protests that the informants made repeatedly due to the difficulties that the Police put in covering the landings. of Maritime Rescue at that time in Arguineguín, sometimes even crossing vehicles in front of the cameras to prevent the taking of images.

These obstacles not only led to a formal complaint from Reporters Without Borders, but also appear, for example, among the objectionable practices that the US State Department cites in its 2021 annual report on Human Rights regarding Spain.

In those days at the end of November, more than
2,500 people who slept on the ground and, sometimes, with nothing to protect themselves from the sun or the rain, in conditions that were repeatedly denounced by organizations such as CEAR, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, or by the supervisory judge of the Gran Canaria CIE.

On November 29, 2020, at night, the camp was dismantled, after the Ombudsman sent a request to the Ministry of the Interior due to its poor conditions.

After months displaced in different coverages as a freelance photographer in the Canary Islands, Ceuta and the south of Spain, Bauluz has found himself upon returning to his home in Asturias with the notification of the sanctions, which are already in the enforcement phase and add up to almost 1,000 euros.

"I'm not going to pay.
This is unfair«, says the photojournalist. «If over time they seize it from my account, well, he is already there. But my father taught me that there are things that are worth more than money, such as dignity and freedom, that of one and that of others.

Meanwhile, Javier Bauluz assures that he will continue to demand that the Government fulfill its commitment to
«repeal the Gag Law«or, at least, to withdraw from it the most controversial articles and those that are generating the most sanctions for informants in their relationship with some members of the security forces. And, in addition, you will file a complaint with the Ombudsman.

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