Journalists often come to Catalonia from abroad to write chronicles or film documentaries on what since about 2011 is called "the process", the political initiative driven by the non-partisan grassroots movement that has held breaking news rallies and other events for independence, and hundreds of local, unofficial referenda on the issue.
Literally hundreds of books have been written on the subject, most of which by specialists in the field of Economics, Political Science, Journalism, European affairs.. And the list goes on. My personal estimation is that at least 80% allow the reader to reach the conclusion that for Catalonia independence is not only possible but also essential, if the Catalan people want to continue existing into the foreseeable future.
Reputable journalists naturals seek to offer a "balanced" view of the issues at hand. They have a duty to do so. And to the extent that they allow the different parties (or sides) to express their views, they can claim to present an "objective" outcome.
However, when (some of) those views, expressed with a straight face, are based on fallacies or myths, often uncritically repeated in the media, then what is questionable is the "objectivity" of the sources, or rather, of the claims being made. Often we find that such purported "facts" have been torn to shreds by the opposing party. Let me give two examples. Citizenship and pensions.
In the run-up to the September elections in Catalonia (which some hoped would be regarded by all the electorate as a plebiscite on independence, given Spain's refusal to authorized one) the fear-mongering Unionist side had around that in an independent Catalonia, not recognised by the international community, Catalans would lose their condition and privileges as EU citizens. As has been pointed out a couple of years earlier (and ignored by the Unionists) the Spanish constitution - which they brandish as if it were the home bible - clearly states that Spanish citizens cannot be forcibly deprived of their nationality. Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy in a prime time interview was bowled over when confronted with this fact.
On the pensions issue, for years now the Unionist discourse has claimed that in an independent Catalonia people would no longer receive their pension. This again was denied at the last minute (in the face of overwhelmed evidence the contrary) by Rajoy just a few days before the election. The truth is Spain is duty-bound to continue paying pensions wherever the pensioners live, and whether or nit they acquire citizenship of another country.
Do all foreign journalists have the background knowledge to ensure that claims such as these, which do not have objective backing, are duly exposed by supporters from the opposing camp?
Or, for that matter, do all foreign journalists know how and by whom the organisations defending (quite legitimately!) opposing views on the Catalans (including the camp that deies the very existence of the Catalan people, and therefore any collective right at all) are funded? This is not a lesser matter.
The list could go on. All I ask of these journalists, whose presence and interest in Catalonia are of course very welcome, is not to accept at face value many "facts" which do not stand up to scrutiny and cannot therefore be treated as "objective".
In the end, the "process" needs not only to be democratic. It is about democracy itself, and about the well-informed electorate that is essential for it to work!