Meritxell Batet was in charge of the inaugural presentation, yesterday, of the course that the Association of Parliamentary Journalists (APP) has been teaching at the Rey Juan Carlos University for fourteen years. This edition comes at a crucial moment, when the XIV Legislature is about to conclude and with elections to the Cortes Generales in less than a month. In this context, the parties face the challenge of fighting for their continuity or promoting a political change, after four years of rivalries, internal conflicts and erosion of the institutions. “The polarization is so extreme because we live in a world overrun with emotion. Too many politicians base their electoral options on building an image of the adversary that can be identified as 'absolute evil', which it is legitimate to despise, and even hate, to later identify themselves as a representative of the victims”, Batet explained during the presentation of she.
For its part, public opinion demands more and more information, but hoaxes and so-called fake news have become a growing problem that threatens freedom and puts democracy itself at stake. This phenomenon began to gain more strength as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the flow of information and misinformation accelerated remarkably, and it has not stopped spreading throughout the world since then. “When a piece of information is directly false news, such as that President Obama was not born in the United States, or that a pot hole is brewing in Spain led by the President of the Government, that information cannot be used as ammunition against the adversary. And this happens ”, he added.
Batet believes that the solution depends more on respect and reasoned debate than on changing the laws: “Many times I have been asked if the House Regulations should be reformed to avoid tension. Sure you could, but I think it's better to use self-restraint or self-control. The exercise of each one of us is very important when it comes to ensuring that respect is maintained within parliament”.
More than a hundred students enrolled
Together with Batet, the vice-chancellor, Mercedes del Hoyo, and the journalist Carlos Ramírez, co-director of the course together with Anabel Díez and David Ortega, participated in the opening day.
This course aims to provide a perspective and a rigorous analysis of parliamentary news by the political actors themselves. Thus, in the coming days, the spokespersons of the main parliamentary groups, professors and political science experts will pass through the URJC to discuss political polarization. In this year's edition, which is entirely face-to-face, one hundred and twelve students have registered.