The Government places the former Secretary of State for Communication Miguel Ángel Oliver as president of the Efe agency


Her predecessor, Gabriela Cañas, has been dismissed after four years of controversial management

Miguel Ángel Oliver.
Miguel Ángel Oliver.CHEMA MOYAEFE

The Government has decided to place the former Secretary of State for Communication at the head of the Efe news agency Miguel Angel Oliveras advanced and this newspaper has confirmed. A journalist by profession, the new senior official of the public company held the position of top person in La Moncloa for relations with the media during the first three years of his mandate. Pedro Sanchezbetween June 2018 and July 2021.

It was Oliver himself who, in February 2020, informed one of his predecessors in the presidency of Efe, Fernando Garea, his dismissal only 19 months after being appointed. After that tense meeting in a cafeteria in Madrid, the dismissed journalist also left, in turn criticizing the alleged interference of the Executive in his work: “A public news agency is not a Government news agency, not even an agency official”.

When it came time for his own dismissal almost a year and a half later, Oliver also left a cryptic message for “those who are willing to die for the truth, because they often cause the death of many others as well.” During his years as Secretary of State for Communication, he was questioned for his information management of the Covid pandemic, both due to the president’s television overexposure and the telematic system to give the floor to journalists in virtual press conferences.

After his time in the Government, he rejoined the staff of the communication company Mediasetwhere, among other functions, he had directed and presented News Four Weekend and he was also the host of the political debate program Take sides. He had previously developed a large part of his career on Cadena Ser, where he became a substitute for Iñaki Gabilondo in Day by day.

Gabriela Cañas Efe
Gabriela Cañas, former president of the Efe agency.SEPI

This move has meant that, four years after his appointment, Gabriela Canas cease, in turn, as head of the presidency of Efe. The Government has decided to dismiss the journalist after a management that has aggravated the already precarious economic situation of the public company dependent on the State Industrial Participation Company (SEPI).

The communication arrived by email on the morning of this holiday Wednesday at Works council from the Human Resources department, as has been advanced Populi Voice and EL MUNDO has been able to confirm it from union sources. However, the workers have not yet received any communication from the company. The official statement did not elaborate on the motivations that led to the dismissal nor did it mention who could replace Cañas. in the presidency of the agency.

Gabriela Canas replaced in office Garea in February 2020, and then the only motivation that the Sánchez Government used was, in the words of the then minister spokesperson Maria Jesus Montero, which was a normal change that usually occurs at the beginning of all legislatures. He had only been in office for 19 months.

Once again, the dismissal of the president of Efe, the first woman to head the public news agency, comes after the formation of a new Executive. However, the journalist’s management has not been free of controversy. A report of Court of Accounts revealed, in January of this year, that Efe was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2020 and 2021 due to the enormous debts it bore, which fell on a structural debt that it had been carrying for years.

The agency closed 2020 with a debt balance of 1,187,992 euros in its net worth compared to the 7.7 million positive with which it had closed the previous year, which implied that the news agency was in one of the causes of dissolution provided for in the Capital Companies Lawpointed out the Court of Accounts in his report. The extraordinary situation created by the Covid pandemic allowed bankruptcy to be avoided. “This does not mean that the unbalanced economic-financial situation of the Entity as of that date is no longer relevant,” the organization notes.

The extension of anti-Covid measures once again served as a lifeline for Efe in 2021, when it lost nine million euros. And the State’s contribution rose to 53.9 million euros, 1.1% more than the previous year. The SEPI It came to the aid of Efe last spring with 15.5 million after increasing its losses in 2022 by more than 30%. In August it was learned that, despite a clearly poor economic situation, the leadership of the public agency increased their salary by more than 20% after lowering it during the years of the pandemic.

Gabriela Canas He has spent most of his career in The country, where she has been head of the Madrid and Society sections, correspondent in Paris and Brussels and editorialist. She has also been deputy director of the UAM-El País School of Journalism. Between 2006 and 2008 she was general director of International Information of the Presidency of the Government under the mandate of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

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