A cameraman at Europa Press offices in Palma, where police seized information on Tuesday.

11-12-2018Alejandro Sepulveda

More than 200 journalists from various media groups have signed a letter that has been delivered to the head of the state prosecution service, María José Segarra, which denounces the seizure of documents and equipment from the Europa Press agency in Palma and the Diario de Mallorca.

Segarra arrived at the annual congress for human rights in Spanish law yesterday morning and was presented with the letter. It expresses its alarm at the fact that police went to the two news organisations in order to carry out searches related to a leak of information to do with the Cursach case. "This is a very serious mater without precedent and puts at genuine risk the right to information." The letter continues by referring to protection for journalists' information that is enshrined in the Spanish Constitution and to an "improper act" in wanting to find out who informed journalists about a matter of corruption.

This was an act, it is argued, for which Segarra is responsible, and it also involved the "absolute helplessness" of journalists whose constitutional rights were harmed. Segarra, the letter notes, took charge of her role by promising transparency and the defence of information. Instead, she has become the first person to be responsible for the prosecution service to have backed "intolerable and unprecedented meddling with constitutional rights".

Bartomeu Barceló, the head of the prosecution service in the Balearics, said yesterday that the seizure of documents and equipment would be a "delicate" matter if professional secrecy was affected.

He explained that it was the special anti-corruption prosecution service which had requested the judge, Miguel Florit, to issue a warrant for seizing documents and equipment. He himself had no part in this decision as there is a separate regional anti-corruption service. He regretted the repercussions of the police operation on Tuesday but said that "you cannot act if you are thinking about repercussions and criticisms".