The International Press Institute (IPI) expresses deep concern over the retaliatory legal action taken against journalist Carlos Sosa in Spain. On February 8, 2024, the Magistrate’s Court number 27 of Madrid decided to open oral proceedings against Sosa, director of Canarias Ahora, a news outlet in the Canary Islands, based on a complaint filed by imprisoned former judge Salvador Alba. 

The charges include harassment, incitement to hatred, and revelation of secrets, with Alba demanding a staggering 23-year prison sentence for the journalist. The complaint also targets Ignacio Escolar, the director of El Diario (to which Canarias Ahora is affiliated), Canarias Ahora, and El Diario, as well as Sosa’s partner, Victoria Rosell. 

Despite the public prosecutor’s office opposing the trial, the judge proceeded and imposed an exorbitant bail of 422,500 euros on Sosa. The accusations stem from Sosa’s reporting in Canarias Ahora on the criminal proceedings against Alba. 

In 2019, a court in the Canary Islands found Alba guilty of seeking to undermine the political career of another magistrate, Victoria Rosell, through false statements. The ruling was upheld by the Spanish Supreme Court in 2021. In addition to being sentenced to six years in prison – a sentence he has been serving since October 2022 –  for conspiracy against Rosell, who is the Spanish government’s former delegate against gender violence, Alba was suspended from the judiciary for 18 years.

Alba claims that the information Sosa and Canarias Ahora published about his case invaded his privacy and promoted hatred against him. However, the public prosecutor’s office affirmed that Sosa’s reporting was in the public interest and was limited to newsworthy information and “cannot be considered irrelevant, gratuitous or unnecessary”.

“We condemn the retaliatory legal action taken against Carlos Sosa and Canarias Ahora for their critical coverage of wrongdoing and abuse of power in the judiciary”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “The absurd scope of this complaint, which should be immediately tossed, is a clear act of intimidation. The fact that the complaint has advanced this far underscores the need for urgent reforms in Spain to prevent abuse of the court system to target journalists.”

In addition to standing in solidarity with Sosa against these vexatious legal proceedings, IPI urges the international community to monitor the case closely and support Sosa’s defense against these charges.


This statement is part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), a Europe-wide mechanism which tracks, monitors and responds to violations of press and media freedom in EU Member States, Candidate Countries, and Ukraine. The project is co-funded by the European Commission.