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Pro-independence journalist Pilar Rahola. PHOTOGRAPHY: Europa Press
Pro-independence journalist Pilar Rahola. Photo: Europa Press

Renowned Catalan journalist fired for her support of the pro-independence movement

Pilar Rahola was fired as a columnist for La Vanguardia during a new phase of the Catalan independence movement.

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The famous Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia has so far been very careful to walk a fine line of professionalism between the frontiers of the Catalan pro-independence conflict.

This weekend, however, the news organization Pilar Rahola, who signed her last column with an article about the secessionist obligations of all Catalans.

Rahola is one of the most prominent journalists aligned in favor of Catalan independence, a talk show and media celebrity who has aligned herself in favor of the Procés by placing very close to the most influential figures and with large doses of public exposure not only in the newspaper, but also on Catalan public television.

"Yes. La Vanguardia will not publish any more articles of mine. Yes. It is for ideological and political reasons. No. I have not accepted the requests to change my approaches, nor to soften them. No. This is not the first attempt to fire me. Yes. The decision comes from above and beyond," she said.

So while the newspaper is getting rid of one of its most famous writers just when the government changes hands to Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), the journalist sees the dismissal as a wider symbolic gesture, in which the newspaper gets rid of notable pro-independence people, such as Albert Sánchez Piñol, Xavier Sala i Martin, Xavier Antich, Jordi Graupera, and Salvador Cardús.

Messages of Support

The debate on social media began when the journalist first announced her dismissal, which prompted messages of support from a multitude of pro-independence supporters. The most important messages came from the political party Junts per Catalunya, the political sphere for which the journalist has served as spokesperson, the political party that started the Procés years ago.

The former president of Junts per Catalunya, Carles Puigdemont, fugitive in Waterloo from where he was recently interviewed by the journalist, defended Rahola on social media. 

"Dear Pilar, thank you for writing as a free woman until the last day. Some, in Madrid and also nearby, love you in silence or with mute. Keep writing, keep talking. With agreements and disagreements, we cannot be if we are not free," he wrote.

The last former president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, the president of his parliamentary group, Albert Batet, and his spokesperson Laura Borràs, who called the firing a form of censorship, have also come out in support.

However, Rahola has not received the support of ERC, which just appointed a new president of the Generalitat with a government agreement with Junts, but has nevertheless started a new stage with a government that now, after the pandemic crisis, is looking for other ways to deal with the nationalist conflict.

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