A Spanish judge last Friday ordered the confiscation of all copies of satirical magazine El Jueves whose front cover carried a cartoon of Crown Prince Felipe administering his wife Princess Letizia a right royal rogering while saying: "Do you realise that if you get pregnant . . . It will be the closest thing to work I’ve done in my life?”
The cartoon is a reference to the Spanish government's recent announcement it would pay mothers €2,500 (£1,700) for each child they bear, and has offended sensibilities in a country where the royal family is generally well regarded and considered "off-limits".
Spain's public prosecutor's office presented a writ before High Court judge Del Olmo which declared the cartoon "clearly denigrating and objectively libellous". Del Olmo agreed, and odered the magazine to be withdrawn from sale, the printing plates seized and the website shut. He also ordered El Jueves to identify "Guillermo" - the artist responsible for the outrage.
Guillermo is reported to have said: "They’re going to take the printing plates? Why those haven't existed for years! The best thing would be for them to cut off my right hand."
The magazine's director, Albert Monteys i Homar condemned the ban as "a direct attack against freedom of expression", El Pais reports. He added he's been surprised by the reaction because "we've done it many times before and until now nobody has picked up on it".
This isn't entirely true, since El Jueves has in the past been asked by the royal household to "reflect" on its content.
The El Jueves website briefly carried the offending cover and a statement which said: "We are graphic humorists, and we are conscious of our obligations to what our readers want, which is to explore the limits of freedom of expression.'' The site is now off the air, although the image has unsuprisingly surfaced elsewhere. ®