Pablo Hasel’s Arrest Revives the Debate Over Spain’s Free Speech Laws

A protest condemning the arrest of rapper Pablo Hasel in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 27, 2021 (AP photo by Emilio Morenatti).
A protest condemning the arrest of rapper Pablo Hasel in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 27, 2021 (AP photo by Emilio Morenatti).

The arrest of the Spanish rapper known as Pablo Hasel in February sparked violent protests in his native Catalonia, but also across Spain. Judging from international news coverage, Spain’s young people had erupted in anger over a lack of free speech in the country, 46 years after its post-dictatorship transition to democracy. A closer look, however, reveals a more complex story about how the Catalan independence movement drove these protests, as well as a more nuanced debate about European versus American concepts of free speech, even as Spain forges ahead with an already-promised reform to its free speech law. The […]

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