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Spanish Broadcaster Covered Wine Harvest Instead of Breakaway Vote

  • Public network skewered for letting politics dictate coverage
  • Critic: RTVE ‘disconnected itself from Catalonia and Spain’
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Spain Said to Ready Forces to Capture Catalan Leader

As Spanish police clashed with Catalonians voting in a renegade referendum that threatened five centuries of nationhood, the country’s public television network was airing a documentary on French wine harvesting and years-old reruns of shows about living abroad.

The decision by La 1, public broadcaster RTVE’s main channel, to ignore the biggest story in Spain since the global financial crisis produced stinging criticism and a protest by newsroom workers. Spaniards, already grappling with the fallout from the illegal Oct. 1 independence vote, are now debating the future of RTVE, which is widely seen as having failed in its duty to offer independent information from varied sources.