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Spain 🇪🇸 is a European country whose majority religion is Christianity. It is a parliamentary democracy with the King as Head of State. Spain is a member of the European Union.

Censorship was pervasive during the rule of Francisco Franco, who had the Catholic Church support by perpetuating it, until his death in 1975.

General censorship[]

  • Some media linked to Basque nationalism, particularly the abertzale left have been object of censorship.
  • Insults to the Crown (The king and royal family as institution representative of the whole nation) are a criminal offense in Spain, according to articles 490.3 and 491 of the Spanish Criminal Code. This crime is controversial amongst different political forces.

Book censorship[]

  • The Bible in Spanish was prohibited in Spain from the 16th until the 19th century. In 1234, King James I of Aragon ordered the burning of Bibles in the vernacular.
  • -All of the works by Johannes Kepler were banned by Habsburg Monarchy of Spain for perceived heresy
  • Voltaire's entire body of work was banned by the Bourbon Monarchy of Spain, after it was condemned by the Spanish Inquisition.
  • Many books that contradicted or attacked the conservative values and strict social climate of Francisco Franco's Spain were banned. One famous example was a book that said cynically in one chapter that "1952 has been a very good year. Madrid is so clean there aren't even any dogs around!", which alluded to the famine that many people went through in 1952, when even dogs were considered food.
  • All of Vicente Blasco Ibáñez's books were banned by the Francisco Franco government in 1939.
  • A Short History of the World - An expanded, Spanish-language translation of this H. G. Wells book, discussing recent world events, was banned by Spanish censors in 1940. This edition of A Short History was not published in Spain until 1963. In two 1948 reports, Spanish censors gave a list of objections to the books's publication. These were that the book "shows socialist inclinations, attacks the Catholic Church, gives a twisted interpretation of the Spanish Civil War and the Spanish National Movement, and contains 'tortuous concepts'."
  • The Story of Ferdinand - this children's book about a bull who refuses to take part in bullfighting was banned under Francisco Franco's rule in Spain as "Communist and pacifist propaganda".
  • Homage to Catalonia - this book by George Orwell was banned during Francoist Spain for its support for the Republican faction during the Spanish Civil War.
  • For Whom The Bell Tolls - this novel by Ernest Hemingway was suppressed by the Spanish authorities until 1968.
  • Many works by Federico García Lorca (who supported the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War), which were published in Argentina, were banned in Spain until 1954.
  • You Can't Be Too Careful by H. G. Wells was banned during the rule of Francisco Franco for criticizing Christianity, and for mentioning the Bombing of Guernica by the Axis air forces.
  • The Spanish Labyrinth by Gerald Brenan was banned during the Francoist regime for strongly criticising the Nationalist Faction's actions during the Spanish Civil War.
  • The Second Sex - this book by Simone de Beauvoir was banned in Spain under Francisco Franco for advocating feminism.
  • The Hive by Camilo José Cela was banned by censors of Francoist Spain.
  • The Spanish Civil War by Hugh Thomas was banned for its negative depiction of the Nationalist Faction during the Civil War, and its critique of the Franco regime.
  • The Death of Lorca by Ian Gibson was banned briefly in Spain.
  • The complete 1945 Spanish-language translation of James Joyce's Ulysses was suppressed by the Spanish authorities until 1962.
  • Spirou and Fantasio - the comic album "The Dictator and the Mushroom" was banned during Franco's regime due to poking fun at dictators.
  • Tres tristes tigres - this novel (originally titled Vista de amanecer en el trópico) written by Cuban writer Guillermo Cabrera Infante, which is about three young people within the nightlife of pre-revolutionary Havana, underwent the process of censorship by the government of Francisco Franco. In 1965, Cabrera Infante was able to revise the galley proofs of the novel and decided to rewrite several passages. The novel was originally intended for publication in 1965 but, for this reason, the printing of Vista de amanecer en el trópico was delayed for a few years and ultimately retitled Tres tristes tigres. In early 1967, the novel was finally published in Barcelona by Editorial Seix Barral with some resistance from Cabrera Infante due to the twenty-two instances of censorship carried out by Francoist censors. These deletions were not replaced in the successive editions in Spanish. However, the deleted passages were finally restored in 1990 when Cabrera Infante completely revised his book, restoring it for the collection of the Biblioteca Ayacucho in Venezuela.
  • Basque newspaper Egin was closed in 1998 due its connection with terrorist group ETA by order of the judge Baltasar Garzón. In 2009, the court resolved that the activity of the newspaper was legal. However, since then, the newspaper could not open again. In 2001, The Ardi Beltza magazine, was closed by order of the same judge, which was later revoked.
  • El Jueves - this satirical monthly was twice target of censorship, the first was in 2007, where it was seized due to it featuring satirical cartoons which were considered offensive towards the Royal Family.
  • Uncertain Glory - this novel written by Joan Sales i Vallès about his experience in the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War was rejected by the Francoist censors because it "expressed heretical ideas often in disgusting and obscene language". However, in 1956 it was given the nihil obstat (‘nothing stands in the way’) by the Archbishop of Barcelona and the censor accordingly authorised its publication, albeit with major cuts. Sales continued writing and adding to the text until the definitive fourth edition in 1971, by which time it had become a much longer and more complex novel.

Internet censorship[]

  • Apurtu.org, Ateak Ireki, BurlataHerria and the website of youth organization Ernai were closed down by Audiencia Nacional for suspected connections with the terrorists.
  • Topatu - this site had to take down videos of their press coverage of an event organized by Ernai, as these were considered apology of terrorism.

Movie censorship[]

  • The Battleship Potemkin - This Soviet movie was banned under the regime of Francisco Franco out of fear of inciting a Communist revolution.
  • The Great Dictator could not be shown until April 1976, months after Franco's death.
  • Paths of Glory - This movie was banned under the Franco's regime for its anti-military themes.
  • La Dolce Vita - Banned under the Francoist regime.
  • Viridiana - This film was banned during Francisco Franco's regime due its final scene, where the title character closes the door after her cousin enters the room and the film ends at that point (even if he regrets it and kills himself in the end), as well for featuring was also a parody of the Last Supper made by homeless people (with a blind man as Jesus) in the middle of the film and a scene where Viridiana's uncle tries to rape her. However, the Film Institute of Spain approved the its submission to the Cannes Film Festival. After the Catholic Church expressed indignation, the head of the Film Institute was fired and the film was banned for sixteen years, costing director Luis Buñuel his passport, and the movie only escaped as actress Silvia Pinal managed to smuggle a copy into the Cannes Film Festival, where it was represented as an independent film because neither Spain nor Mexico wanted to represent the movie.
  • Behold a Pale Horse - this drama war film about the life of the Spanish anarchist guerrilla Francesc Sabaté Llopart had its Spanish premiere forbidden during Franco's regime.
  • La Petición - this film about a woman involved in sadistic and ultimately fatal sexual relationships with men was initially banned in 1981, but was eventually released under media pressure to reconsider its artistic merit.
  • Saw VI - this film as the first mainstream film to be rated X in Spain due to extreme violence, and therefore it can't be shown in non-adult cinemas, only in approved X-rated cinemas. Disney (the ironic distributor) appealed against this decision, but ultimately was forced to edit several violent scenes before a wide release could be allowed, ultimately pitting the film against its own 3D sequel, released just weeks later. It's been speculated that the producers of a Spanish film that was scheduled to be released at the same time were responsible and that Saw VI was merely a rare victim of protectionism; it doesn't help that Spain usually happens to be lax when it comes to censorship.
  • A Serbian Film - This film was banned due to extreme violent content.

Television censorship[]

  • Mazinger Z - this anime aired in 1978 and it was pulled out off the air at January of 1979 due to the violent content prevalent in the show. Only 33 episodes had been dubbed — one of which never even aired. It was not until 1993 that Spanish fans were able to watch the whole dubbed series.
  • Dragon Ball - the Valencian dub version of this anime was taken off air from Canal 9 due to complaints from various protests about the Dragon Ball series in other parts of Spain, the broadcast ended on episode 10. As of 2014, Canal 9 was considering to cancel Dragon Ball, as the channel deemed the anime "sexist" due to the network's new gender policy.
  • Dragon Ball Z - in 1993, this anime was pulled off air after the episode 146 because Canal Sur received protests from some viewers at the end of 1993. In 1994, episode 213 was broadcast by Telemadrid (in Spanish) and Canal 9 (in Valencian). When Valencia-based network Canal 9 bought further episodes up to 232. However, the Valencian network decided not to broadcast further episodes after episode 213, after complaints about the show.

Video game censorship[]

  • Bomberman was not released in Spain due to the ETA terrorist attacks at the time, leading instead of the release of a localization of its mod, Baloon Hopper, which was known as Don Pepe y los globos (Mr. Pepe and the baloons).
  • Counter Strike: Global Offensive - Prior to its release, it was announced that the game would include a "separatist" playable faction with aesthetics and symbols similar to ETA (complete with the white hoods concealing their faces and black berets). A Spanish official and a Spanish consumer group have requested the removal of this playable faction from the final version, claiming that its inclusion trivializes terrorist violence as well as being offensive to the victims of ETA attacks.

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