Plataforma per la Llengua is denouncing the fact that the European Parliament has censored and cancelled an exhibition on the Catalan language which the Catalan language NGO was due to unveil on 4 March at the European Parliament, in the presence of Presidents Torra and Puigdemont. The exhibition is not considered "appropriate" in terms of "respecting the democratic process in Spain and Catalonia and not influencing the elections in any way", according to the office of MEP Catherine Bearder, member of the European Parliament Bureau in charge of the exhibition service. However, Plataforma per la Llengua is denouncing the fact that this is a mere excuse.
"Over the past few weeks, during the exhibition validation process by the European Parliament, we have received various communications which censored part of the exhibition's content", explained Òscar Escuder, President of Plataforma per la Llengua. "It is clear that the elections are being used as the excuse for definitively censuring an objective exhibition on the Catalan language, thereby giving in to pressure from Spanish MEPs", he reports. "A conference planned for 6 March, two days later than the planned launch date for our exhibition, has just been made public today. The conference will see Ortega Smith, Secretary General of VOX, and other members of the party speak about Catalonia".
"In Spain, mayors can carry out inaugurations until 5 March, which is when the Spanish Parliament is dissolved. It is clear that the European Parliament is overstepping its powers and, as such, deliberately censoring and cancelling an exhibition that was due to be unveiled one day before the Spanish Parliament is dissolved", stated Escuder.
Following the prohibition by President Tajani of the conference by Presidents Torra and Puigdemont at the European Parliament, who had been invited by a Flemish MEP, Plataforma per la Llengua is denouncing this new case of censorship by the European institutions. "It is scandalous and shameful that the European Parliament, which should be a strong advocate and defender of freedom of expression, is denying the opportunity to speak or simply promote knowledge about a language spoken by over 10 million Europeans. We do not identify with this way of understanding the European Union: Europe is about freedom and rights, not censorship", states Escuder. "It goes without saying that all of the information appearing in the exhibition has been justified and demonstrated: we are nothing if not rigorous", ensures Escuder.
Exhibition on the Catalan language
The display censored by the European Parliament, entitled "The Catalan Language: 10 million voices", is an exhibition which strives to explain to MEPs what Catalan is and what its status is. How many Catalan speakers are there? What is the percentage of cultural consumption in Catalan? What is the status of the language in legal settings? In which areas is Catalan an official language? These are just some of the questions the exhibition strives to answer. "It is essentially a cultural exhibition, which aims to raise awareness within the European Parliament about the situation of the 14th most widely-spoken language in Europe: censorship using the elections as an excuse is completely uncalled-for", states Escuder.
Plataforma per la Llengua, however, is determined that the exhibition will go ahead in the heart of Europe, despite the censorship by the European Parliament.