Spain 🇪🇸 is a European country whose majority religion is Christianity. It is a parliamentary democracy with the King as Head of State. Spain is a member of the European Union.

Censorship was pervasive during the rule of Francisco Franco, who had the Catholic Church support by perpetuating it, until his death in 1975.

General censorship[]

  • Some media linked to Basque nationalism, particularly the abertzale left have been object of censorship.
  • Insults to the Crown (The King and royal family as institution representative of the whole nation) are a criminal offense in Spain, according to articles 490.3 and 491 of the Spanish Criminal Code. This crime is controversial amongst different political forces.

Book censorship[]

  • The Bible in Spanish was prohibited in Spain from the 16th until the 19th century. In 1234, King James I of Aragon ordered the burning of Bibles in the vernacular.
  • All of the works by Johannes Kepler were banned by Habsburg Monarchy of Spain for perceived heresy.
  • Voltaire's entire body of work was banned by the Bourbon Monarchy of Spain, after it was condemned by the Spanish Inquisition.
  • Many books that contradicted or attacked the conservative values and strict social climate of Francisco Franco's Spain were banned. One famous example was a book that said cynically in one chapter that "1952 has been a very good year. Madrid is so clean there aren't even any dogs around!", which alluded to the famine that many people went through in 1952, when even dogs were considered food.
  • All of Vicente Blasco Ibáñez's books were banned by the Francisco Franco government in 1939.
  • A Short History of the World - An expanded, Spanish-language translation of this H. G. Wells book, discussing recent world events, was banned by Spanish censors in 1940. This edition of A Short History was not published in Spain until 1963. In two 1948 reports, Spanish censors gave a list of objections to the books's publication. These were that the book "shows socialist inclinations, attacks the Catholic Church, gives a twisted interpretation of the Spanish Civil War and the Spanish National Movement, and contains 'tortuous concepts'."
  • The Story of Ferdinand - this children's book about a bull who refuses to take part in bullfighting was banned under Francisco Franco's rule in Spain as "Communist and pacifist propaganda".
  • Homage to Catalonia - this book by George Orwell was banned during Francoist Spain for its support for the Republican faction during the Spanish Civil War.
  • For Whom The Bell Tolls - this novel by Ernest Hemingway was suppressed by the Spanish authorities until 1968.
  • Many works by Federico García Lorca (who supported the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War), which were published in Argentina, were banned in Spain until 1954.
  • You Can't Be Too Careful by H. G. Wells was banned during the rule of Francisco Franco for criticizing Christianity, and for mentioning the Bombing of Guernica by the Axis air forces.
  • The Spanish Labyrinth by Gerald Brenan was banned during the Francoist regime for strongly criticising the Nationalist Faction's actions during the Spanish Civil War.
  • The Second Sex - this book by Simone de Beauvoir was banned in Spain under Francisco Franco for advocating feminism.
  • The Hive by Camilo José Cela was banned by censors of Francoist Spain.
  • The Spanish Civil War by Hugh Thomas was banned for its negative depiction of the Nationalist Faction during the Civil War, and its critique of the Franco regime.
  • The Death of Lorca by Ian Gibson was banned briefly in Spain.
  • The complete 1945 Spanish-language translation of James Joyce's Ulysses was suppressed by the Spanish authorities until 1962.
  • Spirou and Fantasio - the comic album "The Dictator and the Mushroom" was banned during Franco's regime due to poking fun at dictators.
  • The Little Red Schoolbook - this Danish monograph which encouraged and instructed young people to question societal norms was seized, prohibited, fined and banned in Spain during the years of the Transition (1975-1978) as it was very controversial: conservative media such as the newspaper ABC called for a "judiciary intervention" on the book, defined as a "subversive text"[1], and Ricardo de la Cierva, the then-Minister of Culture, said that The Little Red Schoolbook was "absolutely intollerable and an attack on the most elementary norms of civic convivence"[2].
  • Tres tristes tigres - this novel (originally titled Vista de amanecer en el trópico) written by Cuban writer Guillermo Cabrera Infante, which is about three young people within the nightlife of pre-revolutionary Havana, underwent the process of censorship by the government of Francisco Franco. In 1965, Cabrera Infante was able to revise the galley proofs of the novel and decided to rewrite several passages. The novel was originally intended for publication in 1965 but, for this reason, the printing of Vista de amanecer en el trópico was delayed for a few years and ultimately retitled Tres tristes tigres. In early 1967, the novel was finally published in Barcelona by Editorial Seix Barral with some resistance from Cabrera Infante due to the twenty-two instances of censorship carried out by Francoist censors. These deletions were not replaced in the successive editions in Spanish. However, the deleted passages were finally restored in 1990 when Cabrera Infante completely revised his book, restoring it for the collection of the Biblioteca Ayacucho in Venezuela.
  • Basque newspaper Egin was closed in 1998 due its connection with terrorist group ETA by order of the judge Baltasar Garzón. In 2009, the court resolved that the activity of the newspaper was legal. However, since then, the newspaper could not open again. In 2001, The Ardi Beltza magazine, was closed by order of the same judge, which was later revoked.
  • El Jueves - this satirical monthly was twice target of censorship, the first was in 2007, where it was seized due to it featuring satirical cartoons which were considered offensive towards the Royal Family.
  • Uncertain Glory - this novel written by Joan Sales i Vallès about his experience in the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War was rejected by the Francoist censors because it "expressed heretical ideas often in disgusting and obscene language". However, in 1956 it was given the nihil obstat (‘nothing stands in the way’) by the Archbishop of Barcelona and the censor accordingly authorised its publication, albeit with major cuts. Sales continued writing and adding to the text until the definitive fourth edition in 1971, by which time it had become a much longer and more complex novel.

Internet censorship[]

  • Apurtu.org, Ateak Ireki, BurlataHerria and the website of youth organization Ernai were closed down by Audiencia Nacional for suspected connections with the terrorists.
  • Topatu - this site had to take down videos of their press coverage of an event organized by Ernai, as these were considered apology of terrorism.

Movie censorship[]


During the Francoist rule, censorship was carried out by the Ministry and Information and Tourism, although other public organisms also pressured to get some films banned. With the arrival of the Spanish Transition and the rule of King Juan Carlos I, the task to rate films passed to the newly-formed Ministry of Culture, which has the competence in cinematographic matters.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the "S" rating was given to softcore pornographic films, as well to some films with very explicit violence; the "X" rating was reserved for hardcore pornography, although in 2010 the rating of the horror and gore film Saw VI went rated as such to the mass communication means.

Since 1985, films are rated by the Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts Institute (Spanish: Instituto de Cinematografía y Artes Audiovisuales), known also as ICAA, a Spanish government organisation whose policies are to support the film industry and the audiovisual production. It depends of the Ministry of Culture and Sport. It was created by the Law 50/1984 of 30 December 1984, from the General State Budget for 1985, enacted on 1 January 1985. According to the aforementioned law, the ICAA took the functions of the government organisation Filmoteca Española, which lost its autonomy and was integrated into the newly-created organisation as a general sub-directorate of the ICAA. Additionally, by the Royal Decree 565/1985 of 24 April, suppressed the Directorate General of Cinematography, transferring its functions to the ICAA.

In Spain, ratings are non-binding, but are merely orientative. An underage viewer can watch any film alone, regardless of ratings.

Every film to be commercially released in Spain in any medium must be submitted to the ICAA. Ratings are advisory except for X-rated films, which are restricted to specially licensed venues. A supplementary rating, "Especialmente Recomendada para la Infancia" (Especially recommended for children), is sometimes appended to the lowest two cratings. Another supplementary classification, "Espencialmente recomendada para el fomento de la igualdad de género" (Especially recommended for the promotion of gender equality), is sometimes appended to any of the ratings except the last one.

The ICAA ratings are as follows:

Icon Minimal age Recommendation
ICAA A.svg A All ages General admission.
ICAA Ai.svg Ai General admission. Especially recommended for children.
ICAA 7.svg 7 7 or older Not recommended for audiences under 7.
ICAA 7i.svg 7i Not recommended for audiences under 7. Especially recommended for children.
ICAA 12.svg +12 12 or older Not recommended for audiences under 12.
ICAA 16.svg +16 16 or older Not recommended for audiences under 16.
ICAA 18.svg +18 18 or older Not recommended for audiences under 18.
ICAA X.svg X Prohibited for audiences under 18 (may only be shown in premises where adult films are screened).

Obsolete ratings were as follows:

  • TP - For all audiences - Green
  • 7 - Not recommended for viewers under 7 - Light blue - Known as M-7 in Yelmo Cines
  • 12 - Not recommended for viewers under 12 - Yellow - Known as M-12 in Yelmo Cines
  • 13 - Not recommended for viewers under 13 - Yellow
  • 14 - Not recommended for viewers under 14 (Used by the ICAA until 1984)
  • 16 - Not recommended for viewers under 16 - Orange - Known in Yelmo Cines as M-16
  • 18 - Not recommended for viewers under 18 - Red, usually accompanied by a whistle or a brief sound effect - Known as M-18 in Yelmo Cines

Instances of film censorship[]

  • El Crucero Baleares - This film revolving around the Francoist heavy cruiser Baleares was withheld from being premiered by order of the then Ministry of the Navy in 1940 due to its poor cinematographic quality, granting only a private screening.
  • La Bandera Negra - First film of the filmmaker Amando de Ossorio, who later would be specialised in the horror genre. It was a plea against death penalty, which was then legal in Spain, with the performance of only one actor, José María Seoane. It was filmed without official authorisation in 1956, which was the reason why the censors fined it and submitted it to several cuts, eventually not making it to being distributed.
  • The Battleship Potemkin - This Soviet movie was banned under the regime of Francisco Franco out of fear of inciting a Communist revolution.
  • The Great Dictator - The film was banned under the regime of Fransico Franco, and would not be shown until 1976, months after Franco's death.
  • Paths of Glory - This movie was banned under the Franco's regime for its anti-military themes.
  • Miracles of Thursday - This 1957 film revolves around a group of people from a forgotten town deciding to fake and represent a miracle, in order to attract tourism to their town. A screenplay by Luis García Berlanga, which resulted into him clashing with the Francoist censors.
  • Psycho - The Francoist censors cut several shots from the scene of the shower murdering in order to hide Janet Leigh's body nudity.
  • La Dolce Vita - Banned under the Francoist regime.
  • Viridiana - This film was banned during Francisco Franco's regime due its final scene, where the title character closes the door after her cousin enters the room and the film ends at that point (even if he regrets it and kills himself in the end), as well for featuring was also a parody of the Last Supper made by homeless people (with a blind man as Jesus) in the middle of the film and a scene where Viridiana's uncle tries to rape her. However, the Film Institute of Spain approved the its submission to the Cannes Film Festival. After the Catholic Church expressed indignation, the head of the Film Institute was fired and the film was banned for sixteen years, costing director Luis Buñuel his passport, and the movie only escaped as actress Silvia Pinal managed to smuggle a copy into the Cannes Film Festival, where it was represented as an independent film because neither Spain nor Mexico wanted to represent the movie.
  • Behold a Pale Horse - this drama war film about the life of the Spanish anarchist guerrilla Francesc Sabaté Llopart had its Spanish premiere forbidden during Franco's regime.
  • El extraño viaje - Directed by Fernando Fernán Gómez, based on an idea from Luis García Berlanga, which was based on a real story of two brothers from Haro, La Rioja. The censorship gave this film the most restrictive rating, which did not even granted the right to debut, delaying approximately 5 years to have a minimal distribution.
  • Algo amargo en la boca - One of the first films of the later famed and polemic Eloy de la Iglesia, who saw how censorship provoked some alterations in the result.
  • The House that Screamed (1969) - Narciso Ibáñez Serrador's cinema debut suffered some cuts in its film imposed by the censors. These affected a sequence where the lesbianism of the characters was implied, as well as some plans taken in the showers scene. This material was not kept, although some still pictures taken during the filming. In a 2002 DVD edition, the film was rated as Not recommended for people under 13 years.
  • Vampyros Lesbos - This film by Jesús Franco with a mostly German production crew, was butchered at the time by the Spanish censorship, which reduced it to a version lasting less than 80 minutes.
  • The Getaway (1972) - During the film's theatrical debut, the censorship imposed (in order to get the permission to release the film in Spain), a message after the films epilogue, that stated that Doc and Carol McCoy were captured in Mexico and returned to prison, as it was considered bad showing criminals fleeing from paying their debt to society, This stock phrase was removed in later home video versions and televised versions.
  • Al otro lado del espejo - This project by Jesús Franco was initially banned by the Ministry of Information and Tourism, eventually completed four years after. Anyway, it debuted in Spain in a 80 minute-long cut, rendering the development moot, which was something usual in Spain at the time of co-productions and double versions for the domestic market and the exports.
  • A Clockwork Orange - this film was banned the film in 1975 after the University of Valladolid (where the film was scheduled to be shown) closed for two months due to student protests during the 1975 Valladolid International Film Festival. The final screenings were in the commercial festival venues, with long queues of waiting students. After the festival, the film went into the arthouse circuit and later in commercial cinemas successfully.
  • ¿Y ahora qué, señor fiscal? - This film is an adaptation by León Klimowsky from an original screenplay by Martín Vigil. The censors forced to changed the pre-production title, Orgasmo sobre una muerta (Orgasm over a Dead Woman), opting to retain the book's title.
  • ¡Votad, votad, malditos! (Vote, vote, you goddamn!) - This documentary-styled reportage short film about the pre-electoral climate in Barcelona during Spain's first elections after the fall of the Francoist regime in 1977, was banned for questioning the official reports of the Spanish transition to democracy.
  • Fritz the Cat - this animated film by Ralph Bakshi was banned for its transgressive content, including violence, drugs, profanity and sexual content. As if all of this wasn't bad enough on its own, having it in an animated cartoon with antropomorphic cats probably didn't go over well at all.
  • The Crime of Cuenca - Based on a real fact, the official organs banned the film reiteratingly for its depiction of the Civil Guard. Shown in some film festivals, It was not shown in commercial cinemas in Spain until 1981.
  • Rocío - this documentary film was first film to be seized by court order in Spain in 1981, due to it featuring testimonies from townsfolk from Almonte pointing José Maria Reales Carrasco (who was the town's mayor during the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera) as responsible of the repression in the town, which ended with 100 killings, which prompted the sons of Reales to sue the director Fernando Ruiz Vergara for libel, insult to the Catholic religion and slander. As a result, a trial court from Sevilla banned the showing of the tape on 8 April 1981 in Cadiz, Huelva and Sevilla, extending the ban two months later. Ruiz Vergara was arrested for two months and had to pay 50.000 pesetas as a fine and a compensation of 10 million pesetas in concept of civil responsibility for serious insult against José Maria Reales, as well had to cut any scene mentioning him. The film was unbanned in 1985 with said scenes cut.
  • The Exterminator - This action film about revenge, whose protagonist is a Vietnam War veteran, was rated "S" due to extreme violence.
  • La Petición - this film about a woman involved in sadistic and ultimately fatal sexual relationships with men was initially banned in 1981, but was eventually released under media pressure to reconsider its artistic merit.
  • Saw VI - this film as the first mainstream film to be rated X in Spain due to extreme violence, and therefore it can't be shown in non-adult cinemas, only in approved X-rated cinemas. Disney (the ironic distributor) appealed against this decision, but ultimately was forced to edit several violent scenes before a wide release could be allowed, ultimately pitting the film against its own 3D sequel, released just weeks later. It's been speculated that the producers of a Spanish film that was scheduled to be released at the same time were responsible and that Saw VI was merely a rare victim of protectionism; it doesn't help that Spain usually happens to be lax when it comes to censorship.
  • A Serbian Film - This film was banned due to extreme violent content.
  • La Mula - This film had its age rating suspended and the harmful qualification for the public was declared by the Ministry of Culture under the mandate of the Minister Ángeles González-Sinde and the PSOE government, which bans its screening. In 14 November 2012 came out the ruling through which the pretensions of the Ministry of Culture were unestimated. That same month, the ICAA issued the rating certification and granted the Spanish nationality to the film.

Television censorship[]


1963-1985 (known also as "Rhombus rating system")[]

In Spain, between 1963 and 1985, a rhombus rating system was devised by the Censorship Committee of TVE and first applied on 1 May 1963. Initially it had two levels.

Icon Name Description (Initial, 1963) Description (1964-1985)
TVE 1 rombo Un rombo (one diamond) Not suitable for viewers under 16 Not suitable for viewers under 14
TVE 2 rombos Dos rombos (two diamonds) Not suitable for viewers under the age of 18 Not suitable for viewers under the age of 18
TVE introduces diamond rating

Announcement of TVE diamond rating system in 1963.

The two rhombuses appeared in the right upper corner of the screen, generally, at the start of the programmes. From the 1970s, the two rhombuses included, occasionally, a warning which is still used as of currently. With the fall of the Francoist regime, the censorship and the control of television programmes relaxed, but the two rhombuses still existed to classify certain films and series, especially the ones with erotic, violent or horror content. Eventually, in 1984 every class of regulation clode was eliminated except for the newscasts and the midnight film section aired on Fridays at 00:35 in TVE1 and the newcasts a year later (1985).


Since 1984, except for midnight movies until 1985 and in some series which were aired at the time of the "diamonds", in none of the two TVE channels had any kind of content regulation code through the two diamonds anymore and the responsibility was at discretion of the parents, who were in charge to decide which programmes and which films their children would watch or not. At the same time, TVE made an effort to improve its programmation quality, removing controversial programs of specific timeslots and adding more children's programmation.

However, between 1984 and 1996 there was not a lack of a regulation code; the Andalusian regional broadcaster Canal Sur was the only network to retain the two diamonds system, since its inception in 1989 until 1992[3].


In 1990, with the rise of private television channels, along with the lack of control and controversy created with programmes such as ¡Ay, qué calor! (which was adapted as a Spanish version of the Italian game show Colpo Grosso) and Tutti Frutti, both which aired on Telecinco, a new rating code was created in 1995, but it was not firmly materialized until 1996, which could be reflected in which, for instance, until the summer of that year, instead of the "13" rating, there was the "12" rating, which was retired until 2013. It was at that time when the current classification system was defined.

During the Francoist era and later, the "diamonds" system had a great influence in the choice of which programmes to watch in family. Since the fall of the Francoist regime, the symbol lost gradually its importance and thus, it was done away with. Currently, although there is a content regulation code with diamonds, it did not had the same influence as its predecessor.

There is also an influence of said symbol in the Spanish popular language, as something is said to be "de dos rombos" ("of two diamonds") when it has erotic, violent or off-colour content.

Until 2011, these icons only were shown at the beginning of the programme. Currently, these are shown during the entire shows.

Icon Rating Description
Calf-eri.svg Especialmente recomendada para la infancia Specially recommended for younger children. Only some channels use this rating, such as Clan TVE and Canal Panda. In August 2021, TVE reclassificated all of its Clan TVE ERI-rated content as TP.
Calf-tp.svg Todos los públicos For general viewing. It can be see during the entire programme since July 2015. In TVE, it was shown only in the first seconds. However, since September 2015, it appears during the entire programme. In Catalonia, programmes with this rating do not show any icon.
Calf-7.svg No recomendado para menores de 7 años Not recommended for audiences under 7. Before 2012, the icon background was yellow. Between 2005 and 2009, the icon was green on TVE.
Calf-7 amarillo.svg No recomendado para menores de 7 años (2009-2012)

(Catalan: No recomanat per a menors de 13 anys)

Not recommended for audiences under 7. This icon was used between 2009 and 2012, but it is still used by Catalan-language network Televisió de Catalunya.
Calf-10.svg No recomendado para menores de 10 años Not recomended for audiences under 10. This rating exists only in Catalonia and is used by Televisió de Catalunya and 8TV.
Calf-12.svg No recomendado para menores de 12 años Not recommended for audiences under 12.
Calf-13.svg No recomendado para menores de 13 años

(Catalan: No recomanat per a menors de 13 anys)

Not recommended for audiences under 13. It was formerly used by national channels until 2010 (until it was superseded by the 12 and 16 respectively). It is still used by some networks and on Amazon Prime Video and in Catalonia instead of the 12 rating (Although Televisió de Catalunya uses both 13 and 12 ratings).
Calf-16.svg No recomendado para menores de 16 años Not recommended for audiences under 16. Until July 2015, the icon was yellow in Spanish territory.
Calf-16 amarillo.svg No recomendado para menores de 16 años

(Catalan: No recomanat per a menors de 16 anys)

Not recommended for audiences under 16. This icon was used in Spanish territory until July 2015. However, Catalan-language network TV3 still uses this icon for the 16 rating.
Calf-18.svg No recomendado para menores de 18 años Not recommended for audiences under 18. A warning tone can be heard at the start of the programme. These programmes cannot be shown on free-to-air television before 10:00PM and after 6:00 AM.

In Spain, X-rated content cannot be shown on digital terrestrial television (TDT).

Unrated programmes do not display any icon on the screen. Nowadays rating symbols are shown during all the programme and in promos; each channel has its right to choose its design and where it has to be placed. The "Infantil" rating is the exception, because it appears during the first five seconds. In Catalonia, only the 13, 16 and 18 ratings remain transparent in the screen, while the others (7, 10 and 12) are seen during the first 30 seconds.

Instances of television censorship[]

  • Aida - the Season 4 episode 7 of this sitcom, "El cielo puede esperar" ("Heaven can wait"), was censored during its initial airing on TeleCinco due to several risqué scenes (such as when a priest was shown sleeping with the main character Aida Garcia Garcia), which the Catholic Church did not like, censoring the episode to the point of banning it. As a result of it, some scenes were dubbed over and edited in order to "censor" some dialog which the Church did not like[4].
  • Crayon Shin-chan - this anime was pulled from RTVV in the Valencian Community on 29 November 2002 due to the show's content not being "suitable" for children's programming.
  • Mazinger Z - this anime aired in 1978 and it was pulled out off the air at January of 1979 due to the violent content prevalent in the show. Only 33 episodes had been dubbed — one of which never even aired. It was not until 1993 that Spanish fans were able to watch the whole dubbed series.
  • Dragon Ball - the Valencian dub version of this anime was taken off air from Canal 9 due to complaints from various protests about the Dragon Ball series in other parts of Spain, the broadcast ended on episode 10. In the 1990s, the network aired the show without any issue. As of 2014, the government-owned channel À Punt was considering to cancel Dragon Ball, as the channel deemed the anime "sexist" due to the network's new gender policy, as a representative for the channel explained that the decision had been made been in consideration of local gender legislation that prohibits the airing of “content that encourages gender discrimination through stereotypes and sexist roles”[5].
  • Dragon Ball Z - in 1993, this anime was pulled off air after the episode 146 because Canal Sur received protests from some viewers, politicians and particularly certain part of viewers associations and a TV critic from Spanish newspaper ABC known only as "Chapete", bad-mouthed the show with reviews such as: "Disgraceful, without any doubt, with Dragon Ball, Japanese animation managed to widely outweigh the boundaries of good taste.[6]" (ABC, 21 January 1992), "Dragon Ball Z keeps the levels of stupidity and idiocy of the previous stages[7]." (ABC, 22 October 1992), "A complete showcase of aggresions which are directed in first place, against the audience and, in second place, against the rest of the signatories. Telemadrid should have revised its concept of ethics. [8]" (ABC. 8 May 1993). Moreover, national newspapers reported sensationalistic headlines about kids ending injured trying to "emulate what they saw watching the show"[9][10] (such as "Dos menores rompían coches al estilo «Bola de Drac»" (La Vanguardia, 29 December 1992), "Niño grave al tirarse de un tejado para imitar a Docu [sic]", (La Vanguardia, 6 June 1993)[11] at the end of 1993 as well, which made that Telemadrid to pre-empt Dragon Ball Z's timeslot, replacing it with Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai, and later, with French-Japanese co-production Ulysses 31, after which "Chapete", criticising Japanese animation, wrote in ABC: "Clueless generation: After Goku, The Adventure of Dai and Son Gohan, It costs Telemadrid to forsake the intergalactic line, and it can be seen that they only had past formats. Since they keep reproposing old glories they would manage that other generation remains "more suspended than Numaios" (a colloquial term in Spanish slang for "being clueless", derived from "Numaios" a character from ''Ulysses 31'' who is mostly seen suspended in air), waiting for Mazinger Z to rescue them.[12]" (ABC, 7 August 1993). On May 1993, the autonomic (regional) channels signed a deontological agreement for protection of children. On January 1994, episode 213 was broadcast by Telemadrid (in Spanish) and Canal 9 (in Valencian). Valencia-based network Canal 9 bought further episodes up to 232, but decided not to broadcast further episodes after episode 213, after the aforementioned complaints about the show.

The debate ensued further, involving also polticians from the People's Pary, who "criticised the objection from the general director, Marcos Sanz, to withdraw Dragon Ball, a children's show criticised for its violence from different sectors, including the integration councillor, the socialist Elena Vazquez"[13] (El Pais, 15 September 1993), After 42 episodes, the Canal Sur broadcast ended at episode 146 and was interrupted in September 1993 because of receiving public protests and political pressures in Andalusia (where Canal Sur is based).

In January 1994, Telemadrd took the same decision as Canal Sur, cancelling DBZ from episode 167, replacing it with classic American animated shows such as Popeye, The Flintstones and Tom and Jerry. Months after, after the publication of an article with the ill-researched opinions of pedagogist Esther del Moral "Los japoneses exportan a todo el mundo los dibujos animados que prohíben ver a sus niños" where it said that "Japanese TV series are rife of messages about destruction. A recurrent theme is saving the Earth from extraterrestrial attacks. In the sports-themed series, the characters fight for success, even at expense of important personal sacrifices, dichotomies are also established between male and female roles. When a boy and a girl should do a same physical activity, he is alwas the first to do it. The most imppresive is that Japanese kids do not watch these series, but series whose contents had been regulated by commitees composed by psychologists, pedagogists and productors, and even, broadcast in two languages."[14] (El Pais, 3 August 1994), Said article, alongside the political pressure and "Chapete"'s opinions on ABC, influenced unaware parents' groups and viewers' associations, took these criticisms seriously to political entities who proposed to take letters about the issue, unleashing a backlash campaign against the anime until expressed laws to withdraw DBZ from television were enacted.

  • In Catalonia, the case had was much more complicated, as in the region, Dragon Ball was much more than a simple seasonal fad. After the cancellation of the European Spanish dub of Dragon Ball Z on Spanish television, it was decided under the "Law for Care and Protection of Children and Teenagers" (Catalan: "Llei d’Atenció i Protecció de l’Infància i l’Adolescència") obligated that the any series with featuring violence had to be withdrawn from children's programming. In fact, on 4 August 1995, Dragon Ball was aired outside the children's container programme "Club Super 3" and it was forbidden every advertising or promo of the series in children's programming. To get around the law, TV3 had to fast-forward the ending of Club Super 3 to half an hour to later air Dragon Ball in its usual timeslot, which raised more critism and unchain a debate between the CiU representative Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida and the director of the Radio and Television Corporation of Catalonia (Corporació de Radio i Televisió, Jordi Vilajoana. The former even had some clashes inside his coalition, since he decided that notwithstanding of what his party Convergència i Unió wanted, he would act as leader of Unió Democratica de Catalunya to bring the theme to the Catalan Parliament. The press of the time made echo of the issue in several articles, such as an article on La Vanguardia dating 11 August 1995[15]. Vilajoana replied without waiting. Besides debunking various misconceptions known in Spain about Dragon Ball, such as "that it was aired at late night in Japan", he revindicated the plurality of television and the positive values the show had[16]. From February 1997 on, TV3 withdrew the show, but decided to transfer the broadcast to Channel 33 at 22:00.

Video game censorship[]

  • Due to the terrorist attacks carried out by the Basque terrorist group ETA at the time, the MSX and ZX Spectrum versions of the Bomber Man video game were released in Spain under its United Kingdom localization, Eric and the Floaters, which was in turn created for a general European release due to the IRA terrorist bombings occurring in the UK at the time.
    • Contrary to popular belief from Spanish-speaking Latin American netizens (who use it as as a part of memes about European Spanish dubs), the original Bomber Man (1983) was not a translation of Eric and the Floaters, but rather a localization of Balloon Hopper, which had nothing to do with Bomber Man at all.
  • Counter Strike: Global Offensive - Prior to its release, it was announced that the game would include a "separatist" playable faction with aesthetics and symbols similar to ETA (complete with the white hoods concealing their faces and black berets worn by the Basque terrorist faction to conceal their identities during their public appearances). A Spanish official and a Spanish consumer group have requested the removal of this playable faction from the final version, claiming that its inclusion trivializes terrorist violence as well as being offensive to the victims of ETA attacks.


  1. http://elpais.com/diario/1980/02/08/sociedad/318812403_850215.html
  2. http://elpais.com/diario/1980/02/08/sociedad/318812403_850215.html
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20200608053851/https://www.mundoplus.tv/comunidad/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=33189&start=1470
  4. https://www.bolsamania.com/seriesadictos/2007/02/16/telecinco-exige-que-se-cambie-un-capitulo-de-aida-en-el-que-mantiene-relaciones-con-un-sacerdote/
  5. https://boundingintocomics.com/2021/03/28/television-channel-in-spains-valencia-region-refuses-to-air-dragon-ball-due-to-law-prohibiting-content-that-encourages-gender-discrimination-through-stereotypes-and-sexist-roles
  6. Impresentable, sin duda con La Bola de Dragón la animación japonesa ha conseguido superar con amplitud los límites del buen gusto.
  7. «DBZ mantiene los niveles de estupidez e idiocia de pasadas etapas.»
  8. «Un escaparate completo de agresiones que se dirigen en primer lugar, contra la audiencia y, en segundo, contra el resto de los firmantes. Telemadrid debería revisar su concepto de ética.»
  9. http://misiontokyo.com/articulos/historia-manganime/historia-del-manga-y-el-anime-4
  10. https://books.google.com.br/books?id=rGaoEAAAQBAJ&pg=PT335&lpg=PT335&dq=elena+vazquez+lavanguardia+drac+bola&source=bl&ots=MWq8FSe_gR&sig=ACfU3U1rbfB7JMQnQ0eTmhQ2urcA-H_CMQ&hl=it&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwigg7_dls-DAxXDCbkGHWZ_ACAQ6AF6BAgVEAM#v=onepage&q=elena%20vazquez%20lavanguardia%20drac%20bola&f=false
  11. "Docu" in the title was a typo for "Goku".
  12. «Generación colgada. Después de Goku, Las aventuras de Fly, y Songohanda, a Telemadrid le cuesta abandonar la línea intergaláctica, y se ve que solo le quedan modelos pasaditos. Como sigan reponienendo viejas glorias van a conseguir que otra generación se encuentre más colgada que Numayos y en espera de que las rescate Mazinger Z.»
  13. «criticaron la oposición del director general, Marcos Sanz, a suprimir La bola del dragón, una serie infantil criticada por su violencia desde distintos sectores, incluida la consejera de Integración, la socialista Elena Vázquez»
  14. «Las series japonesas van cargadas de mensajes de destrucción. Un tema recurrente es salvar a la Tierra de ataques extraterrestres. En las series deportivas los personajes luchan por el éxito, aún a costa de sacrificios personales importantes, y se establecen dicotomías entre los roles masculinos y femeninos. Cuando chico y chica deben realizar una misma actividad física, él siempre es el primero en realizarla. Lo más impresionante es que los niños japoneses no ven esos programas, sino series cuyos contenidos han sido regulados por comités compuestos de sicólogos, pedagogos y productores, e incluso, emitidos en dos idiomas.»
  15. https://i.imgur.com/yGLse.jpeg Duran Lleida recrimina a TV3 la emision de la serie infantil "Bola de Drac" ("Duran Lleida reproaches TV3 for the broadcast of the children's show "Dragon Ball".")
  16. https://imgur.com/w7BHc "Vilajoana pide una normativa para series como "Bola de Drac"" ("Vilajoana calls for a normative for series such as Dragon Ball"), La Vanguardia, 21 August 1995.

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