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High Court orders TV3 not to show government ad for independence referendum

The Court has warned managing director Vicent Sanchis about the possible consequences of ignoring the instructions from Spain’s Constitutional Court

On Tuesday Catalonia’s High Court of Justice (TSJC in Catalan) notified Vicent Sanchis, the Director General of TV3 —the Catalan public TV network— of an instruction from Spain’s Constitutional Court (TC) cancelling the Catalan government’s order of complementary measures for the referendum. The Constitutional Court’s instruction includes a formal warning aimed at over one thousand Catalan officials about the “eventual criminal charges” they might face if they aid, in any way, in “the preparation or the organisation of the referendum”.

During its afternoon news programme, Catalonia’s public TV broadcaster explained that the notification sent to Sanchis urges TV3 “not to initiate, process or inform about any agreement or action that might allow the preparation or the holding of the referendum”. News anchor Raquel Sans admitted that the information ban would mean dropping the government’s referendum adverts currently still being shown on the public network. TV3 sources claim that the Catalan TV station will still be allowed to report about the referendum on news programmes and that the ban is only on “writing reports”. As a matter of fact, the wording of Sanchis’ notification is the same as the note received by all other public officials who were warned on Tuesday about the Constitutional Court’s instruction, including the Catalan government.

The director of Catalunya Ràdio, Saül Gordillo, and the acting chair of the Catalan Broadcasting Corporation (CCMA in Catalan), Núria Llorach, are also on the list of people whom the TC asked to be advised individually, but CCMA sources have told this newspaper that on Tuesday at noon they still hadn’t received anything.

The TC’s instruction warns Catalonia’s public officials that “they are expected to stop or freeze any initiative that might ignore or otherwise skirt the suspension” of the order that provided complementary measures for the referendum and “in particular”, they are urged to “refrain from initiating, processing, informing or issuing” any “agreement or action that aids the preparation or the holding of the referendum”.

Besides the management of Catalonia’s public network, the TC also demands that all cabinet ministers be notified, as well as about sixty top government officials and every mayor in Catalonia.

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