MADRID (AFP) – With plunging sales and advertising, Spain’s press is in crisis, but one outlet is thriving: news website El Confidencial, which joined in this week’s SwissLeaks tax fraud revelations.
Following a trend of influential alternative online news media around the world, it has been compared to US political site Politico and French investigative site Mediapart.
Specialising in frontline political coverage, El Confidencial was also credited as the first media outlet to break the news of King Juan Carlos’s abdication.
Critics say Spain’s mainstream media are constrained by advertisers and by power. The firing of centre-right newspaper El Mundo’s director last year was seen as a political move after he broke a series of corruption stories.
“There are very few media that can talk openly about important businesses and people in Spain without trembling,” the head of El Confidencial’s business and media section, Daniel Toledo, said.
To protect its editorial independence, El Confidencial avoids relying only on deals with major advertisers.
In previous jobs, Toledo said, “I experienced, sometimes quite dramatically, how the annual agreement with big advertising groups influences a newspaper’s editorial line.”
At El Confidencial he feels “a freedom to write that I had never felt before”, with reporters allowed to pursue stories even if they risk embarrassing an advertiser, he said.