Cs leader clashes with journalist: 'You lie, you're a separatist propaganda apparatus'

Albert Rivera accuses Catalan public TV of being at the service of the pro-independence movement and criticizes questions asked by journalist

Albert Rivera and Lídia Heredia during the interview on 'Els Matins' on TV3 on September 7 2018 (screenshot of TV3)
Albert Rivera and Lídia Heredia during the interview on 'Els Matins' on TV3 on September 7 2018 (screenshot of TV3) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 7, 2018 02:18 PM

During a live televised interview, Ciutadans (Cs) leader Albert Rivera clashed with Catalan public broadcaster journalist Lídia Heredia.

The head of the unionist party accused Catalan TV3 station of lying, during his interview on the 'Els Matins' morning program anchored by Heredia.

"You lie, I don't have the time to list all the lies that TV3 has said in public. You're a separatist propaganda apparatus, and I want TV3 to go back to belonging to all Catalans," Rivera stated.

What's more, Rivera accused the public television station of being at the service of pro-independence forces – as well as criticizing questions asked by Heredia during the interview.

In his criticisms, the Cs leader assured that the journalist didn't ask him about the "coup d'état" in the plenary on September 6 and 7 – although it had been discussed in the interview.

Ciutadans has over the past year strongly advocated for control of the Catalan media by Madrid – including during Article 155, when the Spanish government seized Catalonia's self-rule.

"Are you saying I manipulate every morning?"

The tension started to rise when Heredia asked Rivera whether journalists such as her – specifically those with TV3 – should feel safe covering protests called by his party, Ciutadans.

This follows an attack on a cameraman for broadcaster TeleMadrid, who at a Cs protest was mistaken as being with TV3. Rivera and Cs have since denounced the violence.

Heredia, however, argued that the same morning of the protest Cs leader Inés Arrimadas spoke on the radio accusing the Catalan broadcaster of lying.

"TV is made by people," "by journalists," said Lídia Heredia, asking whether her own professionality as the director of the morning program was being called into question.

"Are you saying I manipulate every morning?" she asked, to which Rivera answered: "Yes."

Heredia further noted that she found it "strange to have to give explanations to a politician" of what they, as journalists, report about or ask.

The interview ended with the anchor telling Rivera that he should return and "send her the questions beforehand," implying ironically that he might want to choose the questions himself.

Pujol accuses Rivera of acting like a "bully"

Spokesperson for pro-independence party Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), Eduard Pujol, criticized Albert Rivera for acting like a "bully" during the TV3 interview.

"During the summer, Cs go out with box cutters to remove yellow ribbons and then on Friday go on public television to talk about what they don't like," regretted the spokesperson for the party led by Carles Puigdemont.

"They should learn respect," Pujol continued, "respect plural television stations and plural public spaces."

The JxCat politician was referring to an ongoing dispute about yellow displays of solidarity with incarcerated Catalan leaders being displayed in public spaces, which Ciutadans officials have recently gone out to take down.