"Urine with ebola, fire and stones against the fence", or the most brutal media manipulation possible


Peio M. Aierbe, 16 October 2014

Today, El Faro de Melilla [newspaper] offered us an example of the media manipulation that we have been complaining about for years.

The headline could not have expressed this intention any better: presenting the migrants who want to cross the fence not just as violent, but as a threat to our society. And what could be more effective at the moment, than associating them to ebola?

The newspaper's account of the violent expulsion carried out yesterday by the Guardia Civil consists in showing the Guardia Civil officers as victims, and the migrants as violent and dangerous. Precisely the opposite of what happened, as can be seen from the videos recorded and circulated by Prodein.

Following this headline the report starts by saying that "yesterday five officers were injured in a new mass attack against the fence" and that "they will continue to use violence", "they did not just throw objects such as stones and sticks... they urinated and spat at the agents shouting 'ebola'". Moreover, citing the AUGC (Asociación Unificada de la Guardia Civil, an association representing Guardia Civil officers) and the Government's Delegation, it continues by saying that "the Guardia Civil officers who work at the fence feel 'defenceless'... the immigrants will grow increasingly violent" ... "we are not protected".

Knowing that a complaint voiced by associations, juridical bodies and all sorts of institutions is that the existing legislation be applied, identifying every person and processing their expulsion using the legal guarantees that are provided by the law, the newspaper, acting as a spokesperson for the AUGC, is concerned by a different question: "should an immigrant who has injured an officer be identified and detained, even if they are at the top of the fence?", "have they committed the offence inside our country?"
In short, it's the world turned upside down. The victims become attackers and carriers of terrible ills for society. They are objects who do not possess rights. These only apply to the police forces and it is when it concerns their rights that the question must be asked as to whether they [the migrants] are effectively in Spanish territory.

With this sort of media coverage, first migrants, and then public opinion as a whole, are harmed and manipulated.

[Translated by Statewatch]

Peio Aierbe
Mugak/SOS Racismo

The original article in Spanish: "Orines con ébola, fuego y piedras sobre la valla" o la manipulación informativa más brutal.", 16.10.2014

El Faro de Melilla article: Orines 'con ébola', fuego y piedras, sobre la valla, 16.10.2014

Videos recorded and circulated by Prodein, an NGO based in Melilla, documenting illegal returns and the context in which one unconscious Cameroonian would-be migrant was injured and returned: (15.10.2014) (15.10.2014)

Further coverage

Europa Press, Jueces para la Democracia y la Unión Progresista de Fiscales rechazan las 'devoluciones en caliente'* de inmigrantes
[Judges for Democracy and the Progressive Union of Public Prosecutors reject the hot returns of migrants], 19.10.2014

Migreurop junto a 70 entidades exigen el fin de las devoluciones sumarias y el respeto a la legislación nacional, europea e internacional [Migreurop, alongside 70 associations, demand an end to summary returns and respect for national, European and international legislation], 17.10.2014

*Devoluciones en caliente ("hot returns") refer to immediate returns of migrants across the fence without due expulsion procedures being carried out (including identification, the possibility to file an asylum request, judicial oversight).
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