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Pedro José Ramírez
Born March 26, 1952
Logroño, La Rioja

Pedro José Ramírez Codina (Logroño, La Rioja, March 26, 1952), Spanish, more often known as Pedro J. Ramírez, is a Spanish journalist. When he was appointed to manage Diario 16 at the age of 28, he became Spain's youngest director of a national newspaper. In 1989 he founded the newspaper El Mundo, managing it continuously since then, making him the dean of directors of Spanish newspapers. He has collaborated with several radio and television programs -and continues to do so- and has published a dozen books.

He's divorced from Rocío Fernández Iglesias, had a child from the marriage, María Ramírez, and lives with the designer Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada since 1986, currently his wife. He and Agatha have two children, Tristán (b. 1987) and Cósima (b. 1990) Ramírez.

Contents

Youth and Education

He was raised in a middle-class family from La Rioja and for 13 years he received his primary and secondary education at the Hermanos Maristas school in Logroño. He studied journalism at the University of Navarra, where he also began a degree in Law. While there, he directed the university's Theater Group, participating in several national and international festivals. He graduated with a degree in Journalism in 1973 with a thesis titled 'Towards Informative Theater'. Upon finishing his degree, he earned a position as Professor of Contemporary Spanish Literature at the Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania, living in the United States during the decisive year of the Watergate case. He interviewed the director of The Washington Post, Ben Bradlee, for the magazine La Actualidad Española, along with other important figures at the time in U.S. media. Lebanon Valley College presented him with an 'honorary degree' in Humanities.

Professional Beginning

From 1975 to 1980 he worked at the newspaper ABC, writing the Sunday section on political analysis called Crónica de la Semana. On June 17, 1980, having just turned 28 years old, he was appointed director of the newspaper Diario 16, whose circulation barely surpassed 15,000 copies, which almost led to its closure. Not only was that tragic possibility avoided, but two years later the newspaper had reached a circulation of 100,000 copies, and five years after that it would attain 150,000, according to figures of the OJD, the Office of Circulation Verification.

The most important event of the time was coverage of the attempted coup d'état on February 23, 1981. Diario 16 maintained the firmest and most resolute editorial stance against those leading the coup. On February 23, 1982, on the first anniversary of the coup attempt, Pedro J. Ramírez was expelled from the Court of Justice where the trial was held against those involved, as supporters of the coup were not allowed to appear in court as long as the director of Diario 16 was present.

Yielding to this blackmail, the Military Justice Supreme Council revoked his credentials and forced him to leave the courtroom. This incident led to a historic resolution issued by the Constitutional Court, dismissing the decision by the Military Justice and proclaiming readers' rights to information for the first time since the establishment of democracy.

In 1986 he was also named Publications Director for the entire Grupo 16. He was elected president of the Spanish Committee of the International Press Institute (IPI), and in September 1988 he formed part of the organization's global Executive Committee. On March 8, 1989 he was dismissed as director of Diario 16 because of discrepancies with the Editor of the newspaper aobout the sensationalistic tone his informations had reached concerning the GAL (Anti-terrorist Liberation Groups).

During this period, Ramirez was sued several times for slander/libel, the most serious of these being when he was found guilty in October 4th, 1993 by the Supreme Court of Spain and disqualified for the exercise of journalism. This sentence was appealed, and the appeal denied and the first sentence confirmed by the Constitutional Court of Spain in October 14th, 1998.

Director of EL MUNDO

On October 23, 1989, seven months after his dismissal, he founded the newspaper EL MUNDO, along with three high-ranking executives from Grupo 16: Alfonso de Salas, Balbino Fraga and Juan González. More than 50 Diario 16 journalists quit their jobs and joined the project. The British newspaper The Guardian was one of its first shareholders and the Italian daily Corriere della Sera formed part of its capital a year later.

In the 1990's, EL MUNDO stood out for its investigations on corruption scandals carried out by successive socialist governments, namely for its exclusive exposure of the socialist government’s implication in the GAL plot that led to the murder of more than two dozen people in the south of France. All of these revelations were later supported by strict legal sentences, such as the one convicting the Interior Minister, José Barrionuevo, and his associate, Rafael Vera, for the kidnapping of Segundo Marey; the one convicting general Galindo and the civil governor of Guipuzcoa, Julen Elgorriaga, for the murder of Lasa and Zabala, and the one sentencing Rafael Vera himself for illegal appropriation of funds pertaining to the Ministry.

In 1997, Pedro J. Ramírez was appointed president of the Commission for Freedom of Expression of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), and for many years traveled to countries including China, Algeria, Turkey and Venezuela to request the freedom of imprisoned journalists and the repeal of oppressive laws against the media.

EL MUNDO supported the Aznar government in general terms during its first term (1996-2000), while mildly criticizing it, however, during its second term when it decided to support the Bush policy in Iraq. On the eve of the Azores summit, Pedro J. Ramírez published one of his routine Sunday letters, titled 'One Hundred Reasons against the Invasion of Iraq.'

Since Zapatero's rise to power, EL MUNDO has pushed forward with the investigation of the March 11 massacre, presenting what the newspaper deems significant flaws in the official version, but with a lot less rigurous investigation policy than their former exclusives during the 90s. From the editorial perspective, it has been against negotiations with ETA and the new Catalonian Statute, which led to votes cast for the Partido Popular and the small party headed by Rosa Díez during the general elections held on March 9, 2008. The editorial line of the newspaper has grown quite sensationalistic since 2004.

The Office of Circulation Verification (OJD) confirmed that during its first year EL MUNDO obtained a circulation of more than 100,000 copies, while in 2007 it surpassed the mark of 335,000. According to the Study on General Media (EGM), EL MUNDO has more than 1,300,000 readers. All of these indicators consolidate it as the second largest national newspaper, behind El País and enjoying a large lead ahead of the rest.

According to the OJD, at the end of 2007 elmundo.es had more than 11 million individual users per month. Based on the Alexa rankings, it's the world leader for electronic information in Spanish.

Sex video scandal

In October 1997 a video containing sexual content, in which Ramirez appeared dressed in femenine underwear while a woman performed anal sex to him, was published. The video was filmed by someone hiding in a closet at a room which the, then married, Pedro J. Ramírez had entered led by a female acquaintance. The Madrid Court convicted the former personal aide of González at the Moncloa, Ángel Patón, the former civil governor of Guipúzcoa, José Ramón Goñi Tirapu, and four others to sentences ranging from two to four years in prison. The sentence, entirely supported by the Supreme Court, established that the purpose of the entrapment had been to change the editorial stance of EL MUNDO in its coverage of the legal proceedings involving the prosecution of the GAL crimes. Ramirez has never denied, though, his participation in the incident.

The Purchase of Recoletos

In 2007, Unedisa, the publishing company of EL MUNDO -already widely controlled by the RCS group, owner of Corriere della Sera- acquired 100% of the shares in Grupo Recoletos, a leader in specialized press in Spain. As a result of this operation, Pedro J. Ramírez, as General Editorial Director, was put in charge of content published in newspapers such as Marca, Expansión and Diario Médico; magazines including Telva and Actualidad Económica, and the television channel Televisión Digital Veo TV. Since then, he has been sharing these responsibilities along with those of Director of EL MUNDO.

Awards

  • 1981. Golden Oscar of Communication for Best Information Contributor
  • 1983. Journalist of the Year (Roundtable discussions for Mundo Abierto radio)
  • 1983. Premio Libertad (Freedom Award) as Director of Diario 16 (Club Liberal 1812)
  • 1984. Liderman Award for Best Newspaper Director
  • 1991. Víctor de la Serna Award for Best Journalistic Effort (Madrid Press Association)
  • 1992. Mariano José de Larra Award (Roundtable discussions for Mundo Abierto)
  • 1995. Premio Libertad de Expresión (Freedom of Speech Award) (León Felipe Foundation)
  • 2006. Montaigne Award (Tübingen University, Germany)
  • 2006. Fape Award (Federation of Press Associations)
  • 2007. Isaiah Berlin International Award (Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy)

Publications

  • How the Elections Were Won. (1977) Editorial Planeta ISBN 978-84-320-0288-5 e ISBN 978-84-287-0488-5
  • Press and Freedom. (1980) ISBN 978-84-7209-104-7
  • The Complete King. (1981) (in collaboration with the journalists, Pilar Cernuda, José Oneto and Ramón Pí) ISBN 978-84-85861-01-9, ISBN 978-84-226-1300-8 and ISBN 978-84-226-1804-1
  • The Year Franco Died. (1985) ISBN 978-84-01-33285-2
  • The Rose and its Thorn: Both Sides of Felipism. (1989) ISBN 978-84-320-7542-1
  • The World in My Hands. (1991) ISBN 978-84-253-2248-8
  • Spain without a Project: The Felipista Decade. (1993) ISBN 978-84-460-0205-5
  • David against Goliath: Felipism Checkmated. (1995) ISBN 978-84-7880-539-6
  • Bitter Victory: The Hidden Story behind Aznar’s Historic Victory over González.(2000) ISBN 978-84-08-03653-1 and ISBN 978-84-9734-427-2
  • Getting Even: The Aznar Years (1996-2000). ISBN 978-84-9734-181-3
  • My 100 Best Letters from the Director: 25 Years in the Life of Spain (1980-2005). ISBN 978-84-9734-329-9

External links

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Pedro J. Ramírez is a Spanish journalist, founder and manager of the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

  • ”Hemos llegado a un punto absolutamente crítico..[...]...Todo el Sumario está construido sobre la base de que lo que estalló en los trenes era Goma 2 ECO...[...]...estamos ante la hora de la verdad, es decir yo espero que hoy mismo, sin esperar a que haya mayores exigencias, el Ministerio del Interior ponga a disposición del Juez del Olmo y del Partido Popular los informes elaborados por los TEDAX sobre el terreno respecto a los restos encontrados en los focos de la explosión. Y si en esos informes pone como debe poner, a la vista de lo que dijo el Comisario jefe de los TEDAX en la Comisión de investigación, y de lo que dijo también entonces el entonces Ministro del Interior, si pone que ahí había Nitroglicerina, pues se pongan como se pongan los gobernantes, se pongan como se pongan algunos colegas especialistas en meterse debajo de la cama no vaya a ser que se enteren de algo, se pongan como se pongan los más escépticos entre los españoles el Sumario del 11-M se ha venido abajo. Si ahí pone Nitroglicerina, el Sumario del 11-M se ha venido abajo. Y si no pone Nitroglicerina el que se tiene que ir abajo en diez minutos es el Comisario Sánchez Manzano, y explicar por qué mintió o, y sería también entonces necesario abrir una investigación sobre cómo ha podido manipularse esos informes, porque desde luego el que no mintió fue Ángel Acebes”.

Declaraciones a la cadena COPE, en la Tertulia de “La Mañana”, 11 de julio del 2006 [1]. Extraído del primer quinto del programa: 5´35´´...//....7´42´´...//...10´54´´.

English translation

We reached an absolutely critical point...[...]...All the "Sumario" [i.e., the official version]is built upon the foundation of Goma 2 ECO exploding in the trains...[...]...this is the moment of truth, i.e., I expect that today, without further demands the Ministerio del Interior will give to Judge del Olmo and to the Popular Party the reports made by the E.O.D. team on the ground about the remains found in the explosions sites. And, if in those reports you can read what you should can read, after hearing what the E.O.D. team chief said in the Investigation Hearings, and after hearing what the then Ministro del Interior said, if you can read there "Nitroglycerin", whatever may think some colleagues especialized in see nothing, whatever may think the most skeptic spaniards, the whole Madrid 2004 bombings juciciary Indictment goes down. If you can read there "Nitroglycerine" the Madrid 2004 bombings Indictment goes down. And if "Nitroglycerine" is not written there, commisar Sánchez Manzano is who has to go down in ten minutes, and explain why he lied, or, then it would be also necessary to open a new line of research about how those reports could be manipulated, because the one that certainly did not lye was Ángel Acebes”.

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