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19 Dec, 2019 03:33

Spanish TV station says no ‘external computer sabotage’ at work in accidental airing of RT interview with Catalan leader

Spanish TV station says no ‘external computer sabotage’ at work in accidental airing of RT interview with Catalan leader

Spain’s public broadcaster has judged that outside hackers were not behind a mysterious “unplanned” airing of an RT interview with Catalan independence figurehead Carles Puigdemont on one of its channels.

Despite a buzz of speculation after last week’s inadvertent airing – in which a segment from RT’s ‘A Conversation with Correa’ played over the +24 online channel – the Spanish broadcaster, RTVE, ruled out a hack in a statement on Wednesday.

“RTVE has reviewed the internal processes of said broadcast and the first conclusions rule out that there was an external computer sabotage,” the TV station said. While the statement did not shed additional light on what may have happened, RTVE sources told Europa Press the airing was likely caused by a simple signal error.

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RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan responded to the strange incident earlier this week, noting that RT had nothing to do with the mishap, but nonetheless hailed it as a happy accident.

“Hackers broke into the Spanish +24 TV channel and turned on our broadcast instead of theirs,” Simonyan wrote on her Telegram page. “At the moment we were showing an interview with [Carles] Puigdemont, the top person in Catalonia's independence [movement]. We were on air the entire evening.”

We do not know who did it. Honestly. But, what I can say is that it was lovely.

A similar mystery unfolded in November 2017, when a live C-SPAN broadcast was interrupted by an RT program for about 10 minutes. Like the channel +24 incident, that case also sparked a number of conspiracy theories and hacking allegations, though C-SPAN ultimately deemed it an “internal routing issue.”

Also on rt.com RT broadcast interrupts C-SPAN live stream, sends Twitter into conspiracy craze (VIDEO)

RTVE’s statement came amid heated clashes between pro-Catalan independence protesters and riot police around the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, where the highly anticipated El Clasico football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid was held earlier on Wednesday.

Also on rt.com Clashes with police after Barcelona v. Real Madrid game as tens of thousands protest for Catalan independence (VIDEOS)

Spain has been rocked by waves of protests since nine Catalan leaders were arrested in October over their roles in a 2017 independence referendum, which Spain dubbed illegal and quelled with a heavy police action. Following the ill-fated vote, Puigdemont – a Catalan lawmaker and independence leader – fled to Belgium, where he has since lived in self-imposed exile.

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