Spanish television channel publicizing boycott of the Pope demands rights to broadcast papal visit

Organizers of next July’s World Meeting of Families, which will be attended by Pope Benedict XVI, have expressed dismay over the government-controlled television network, TVE, which is demanding the rights to broadcast the papal event even while it continues to provide a platform in its news programs for "groups that are inciting violence against the Holy Father."

According to the AVAN news agency, organizers of the WMF expressed their "surprise" at the "persistent determination" of TVE to be "immediately granted" the rights to broadcast the visit, despite the WMF´s agreement three months ago to give the rights to Radio Television Valenciana.

On Tuesday government officials met with Spain’s Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro, Alberto Gasbarri - the Vatican official in charge of papal visits, and Archbishop Agustin Garcia Gasco of Valencia, in another attempt to obtain broadcast rights.

AVAN quoted WMF organizers as saying, "The impression is that TVE and the government have been unwilling to acknowledge the importance of the Pope’s visit to Valencia until now." Both Vatican officials and Church leaders in Spain said they were disappointed that at the same time that government officials were demanding broadcast rights, TVE has been providing wide coverage of radical groups that are inciting violence against the Pope and calling for a boycott of his visit.

"It is a deplorable paradox that they are demanding the rights to broadcast the Pope’s visit to the entire world and at the same time providing an outlet for those inciting violence and contempt for people’s religious freedom," sources said.

According to AVAN, in response to the insistent determination of government officials to obtain broadcast rights, Archbishop Agustin Garcia-Gasco of Valencia is defending the capabilities of the local institutions involved in the organization of the event and the technical and professional competence of Radio Television Valenciana to provide coverage. At the same time, he expressed his willingness "to collaborate with TVE in whatever is necessary."

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