What Catalonia’s media dearly needs is neutral voices | World news

Here’s a stinker of a question, the whole concept of press freedom tangled in its own contradictions. If you run a government-financed broadcasting system (say Catalan radio and TV) can some higher authority (say the Spanish state) take control of you when it steps in to run everything?

Maybe an easy problem if we’re talking about independent, truth-seeking newsrooms. But what if that is not exactly possible? See the shades of grey gather. Here’s the EU head of Reporters Sans Frontières, quoted in a new report on the Catalan imbroglio: “The climate for the free exercise of journalism has been tremendously corrupted by extreme polarisation in Catalan politics and society. The regional government’s eagerness to impose its own narrative on to the local, Spanish and international press has crossed red lines, and the intimidating manoeuvres of the central Spanish government have certainly not helped.”

Here’s the boss of TV3, the main Catalan channel: “The legality for the director of television in Catalonia is the legality that emanates from the parliament of Catalonia.” His staff “will oppose” the national government’s intervention. He believes that “the parliamentary majority” for Catalan independence “represents a majority social feeling” that overrides Spanish legalities.

Catalan TV and radio – perhaps especially radio – are not negligible forces. They account for 31% of all regional broadcasting money spent in Spain. And television meshes with print and online activity. TV3 stalwarts are on the board of Ara, the biggest Catalan-only paper in the region (with an online audience close to 2.5 million). President Carles Puigdemont is a journalist who worked for El Punt in Girona, one of the staunchest pro-independence areas. Last year, according to the Madrid paper El Mundo, the Catalan Generalitat gave €7m in grants to chosen media, with well over a million going to Ara and El Punt. There’s been a forest of magic money trees before that.

So much for background. What about the future – including regional elections promised on 21 December? How can they be held fairly in a toxic media climate – which, of course, won’t be helped by the countervailing bias of Madrid’s public service media? Does Madrid impose discipline, censorship by another name? Or does it let the vituperation roll – and abide by the non-intervention initiatives of Rajoy’s socialist partners? Go one way and all those Franco memories will get another airing. Go the other and the vote may be fatally compromised.

The difficulty is that the two paths are equally fraught. But when in doubt, always choose less rather than more repression, no matter how difficult it is. See the stick given to the followers of the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, only a few weeks ago, when they took down Catalan websites.

There will be neutral monitors when the election comes, and there ought to be neutral media voices in play before that. Let them report regularly and openly. Ask Catalan newspapers, websites and broadcasters to carry their verdicts on events as a voluntary running commentary. Begin transparent work towards a better appointments system for editors and directors. Keep parliament and press freedoms at arm’s length.

But leave your heavy boots in the hall. Tread softly. “Both sides should understand that the best sign of a democracy is a free press, with journalists who seek truthful information and feel no need to self-censor,” says the RSF director. It will be infernally difficult after the shambles of the last few days. But it’s a flag on the battlefield that must still be saluted.

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Comparing Catalonia with Ireland or Kosovo | Letters | World news

Dominic Keown (Letters, 12 October) compares Catalonia today to Ireland in 1916. This is beyond hyperbole. Ireland under British rule was a colonial society, impoverished and exploited, a Catholic country governed by Protestants. Catalonia, by way of comparison, is wealthy and largely self-governing with a Catalan-speaking political and business elite and schooling conducted entirely in Catalan. Far from being oppressed, Catalan separatists are making a selfish bid to keep more tax revenues at home, starving Spain’s poorer regions of investment.

Unlike Ireland’s struggle for independence, Catalan nationalism has always had a helping hand from the highest echelons of government. This should be no secret to Professor Keown, who recently spoke at a widely publicised forum at CIDOB, a Barcelona thinktank whose president, Carles Gasòliba, resigned in 2016 citing pressures from the Generalitat to act as a mouthpiece for the separatist movement.
Sergio Bacallado de Lara

The EU has not recognised or supported the democratic wishes of Catalans for independence. Indeed, it has refused to condemn the hideous scenes of Madrid police closing polling stations and battering voters. What a contrast to the recognition of the Kosovo referendum and the independence of a state built on terrorism and the ethnic cleansing of Serbs but which had full support from the EU. Catalonia was a bastion against fascism in the 1930s while Kosovo was a haven of fascism on the 1940s. That might explain it.
Rodney Atkinson
Stocksfield, Northumberland

Most of the world has seen shocking pictures of Guardia Civil and Policía Nacional violence on peaceful civilians in Catalonia. Most of Spain has not, and certainly not on mainstream TV. The media problem is not some imagined Catalan cocoon (there have been countless real debates with all views freely expressed on Catalan TV, none on Spanish TV. And 80% of TV viewing in Catalonia is of Spanish-language Spanish channels), the problem is that Spanish media has misrepresented Catalonia and Catalan issues for years, thus ensuring that most Spanish people haven’t a clue what’s going on in Catalonia and much less why.
Francis Humble
Sitges, Catalonia

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Kim Wall murder: police find head of Swedish journalist | World news

Danish police investigating the murder of the Swedish journalist Kim Wall have found body parts, including her severed head.

The freelance journalist was last seen alive on 10 August when she went to interview the inventor Peter Madsen, who has been charged with her murder. Wall’s dismembered torso washed ashore 12 days after she boarded Madsen’s homemade submarine for the interview.

The police investigator Jens Møller Jensen said divers had found Wall’s head and legs, as well as her clothes and a knife, in plastic bags with “heavy metal pieces” to make them sink.

Kim Wall.

Kim Wall. Photograph: Tom Wall/AFP/Getty Images

“Yesterday morning we found a bag within which we found Kim Wall’s clothes, underwear, stockings and shoes. In the same bag laid a knife, and there were some car pipes to weigh the bag down,” he said on Saturday.

A postmortem examination confirmed that the head was Wall’s and that it showed “no sign of fracture” or “any sign of other blunt violence to the skull”, he said.

The body parts were found on Friday near where her naked torso was found on 22 August, near the coast of Copenhagen. Wall’s arms are still missing. The cause of death has yet to be established.

Madsen, 46, maintains that Wall died after being accidentally hit on the head by a heavy hatch in the submarine, but a Copenhagen court heard there were 15 stab wounds on her body.

A fund set up in memory of the award-winning journalist has raised more than $90,000 (£69,000) of its $100,000 target since being launched by her friends and family. It would be used to provide grants to female reporters to pursue subculture stories, according to the Remembering Kim Wall website.

Wall, who had written for the Guardian and the New York Times, was reported missing by her boyfriend in the early hours of 11 August when she failed to return from her interview.

When the submarine was found, Madsen was rescued just before the vessel sank, and later arrested.

He initially claimed he had dropped her off safely in Copenhagen but later said there had been a “terrible accident” and he had buried her at sea, insisting her body was intact at the time.

Peter Madsen with his submarine.

Peter Madsen with his submarine. Photograph: Hougaard Niels/AP

A court has heard that footage of women being strangled and decapitated was found on a hard drive believed to belong to the inventor.

His lawyer, Betina Hald Engmark, told Reuters she had been informed that further body parts and clothes had been found, but declined to comment further.

Madsen will appear in court again on 31 October.

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Donald Trump and the snub that wasn’t | Open Door | Paul Chadwick | Opinion

During Donald Trump’s recent European visit a news item briefly flared in which the Polish president’s wife, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, was presented as having snubbed the US president. She ignored his outstretched hand and instead shook the hand of Trump’s wife, Melania.

Or so the footage, circulated by several major media outlets including the Guardian, seemed to show. It was enhanced by at least one closeup of Trump looking piqued, and it garnered a big audience. On social media, some celebrated Trump’s apparent discomfort. Kornhauser-Duda was hailed for landing a subtle blow for women.

But the item was wrong. By suggesting a deliberate snub it misled.

More complete footage of the incident showed Kornhauser-Duda unable to greet Melania when the Polish couple joined the Trumps on stage because the two women were positioned to the extreme left and right of the husbands standing side by side between them. Having already shaken Trump’s hand once, when the music stopped and applause began Kornhauser-Duda walked in front of both husbands towards Melania, looking at her and stretching out a hand. Kornhauser-Duda did not appear to see Trump’s hand, which he was offering as she passed after Trump had shaken hands with Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda. As soon as she had shaken Melania’s hand, Kornhauser-Duda turned and without hesitation accepted Trump’s.

When a reader drew attention to the way the edited version distorted what had taken place, I raised the issue with the relevant Guardian editors, and they immediately accepted the need to correct. Staff who put together the item for the Guardian told me they based it on wire service material from a regular and reputable source. In that material the incident was already framed as an apparent snub. It did seem to fit into the growing catalogue of Trump’s odd greetings.

Donald Trump: awkward handshake moments compilation

I am satisfied that the Guardian did not set out to mislead, but that was the initial effect. Several other major media organisations made the same mistake and some also corrected it, as the fact-checking organisation Snopes has reported.

The episode, in itself minor, is nevertheless a reminder of two major points that contemporary journalism cannot afford to neglect. The first is the ease with which the label “fake news” can be applied with a superficial persuasiveness to flawed journalism. President Duda defended his wife on Twitter and exhorted followers to fight fake news.

Second is the connection between trust and willingness to admit and correct significant error. Not new, of course, but in this period of serious challenge to the legitimacy of institutional journalism it is worth restating. Readers know, from their own life experience, that all institutions are fallible. Institutions that pretend to infallibility merit wariness. Admission of imperfection, not denial of it, earns trust.

Early this year, the Trusting News project, by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, carried out an online survey of 8,728 Americans, who ranked four UK-based media organisations among the 10 most trusted news sources in the United States: the Economist came first, Reuters third, the BBC fourth and the Guardian seventh.

The methodology explains limitations, so caution is required with the results. The trust ranking is based on the proportion of “trusted” versus “not trusted” responses given about 39 news sources that were mentioned at least 10 times. The report does not tackle the puzzle: why do a sample of Americans, invited into the survey via 28 US newsrooms, rate British news sources so highly? One commentator wondered if it is the accent.

Asked what made a news source credible to them, respondents frequently mentioned: presenting information on both sides of an issue or argument; using multiple sources; and fact-checking.

Trust is hard-won, easily lost. In the continuous effort to maintain credibility – as well as commercial viability – institutional journalism needs to be vigilant to avoid cases like the snub that wasn’t. When they happen they need to be corrected frankly and quickly.

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Woman’s body found as Danish police search for missing journalist | World news

A woman’s body has been found at the water’s edge in Copenhagen, hours after a Danish inventor charged with killing a Swedish journalist in his homemade submarine told a court she had died onboard.

Peter Madsen told the court that Kim Wall, who has been missing since 11 August, died in an accident onboard his vessel, and that he dumped her body in the sea.

The inventor had previously claimed he last saw the 30-year-old when he dropped her off on the tip of an island off Copenhagen late on 10 August. He had denied playing any role in her disappearance.

Danish police technicians investigate the recovered privately owned submarine Nautilus UC3.

Danish police technicians investigate the recovered submarine. Photograph: Jens Noergaard Larsen/EPA

Police later told a press conference that it was still too early to identify the body – missing its head, legs and arms – that was found by a passing cyclist on Monday.

“It is clear that the police, like the media and everybody else, is speculating whether this female body is Kim Wall, but it is way too soon to tell,” said a Copenhagen police spokesman, Jens Møller Jensen.

The body had been sent for forensic analysis while divers continued to search the area where it was found, Møller Jensen said. On Tuesday he said the arms and legs had “deliberately been cut off” the body. Results from a DNA test are expected on Wednesday .

Madsen has been charged with the manslaughter of Wall. Danish authorities have been searching for the reporter, who had been writing a feature story about Madsen, since she failed to return from an interview with him onboard the 18-metre (60ft) Nautilus.

Police said on Monday that Madsen, who has been accused of negligent manslaughter, “told police and the court that there was an accident onboard the sub that led to the death of Kim Wall, and that he subsequently buried her at sea in an undefined location of the Køge Bay”.

“We believe he is telling the truth when he says she died in the submarine,” the Danish police chief, Steen Hansen, told the Swedish news agency TT. He did not comment on whether police also believed Madsen’s account of the circumstances of Wall’s death. The charges against Madsen remain in place.

The court’s prosecution and defence teams had made a joint decision to lift parts of the privacy order around the case, which is being conducted behind closed doors.

Madsen’s lawyer, Betina Hald Engmark, told the Danish newspaper BT that her client was “relieved” after police released some information on the case.

“He wants to collaborate with the police and give investigators all the information needed in the case,” Engmark said.

Wall was last seen on Madsen’s vessel by several people in waters off Copenhagen on the evening of 10 August. Her boyfriend reported her missing in the early hours of Friday.

The submarine was later also reported missing, but rescue crews located it at shortly after 10am on 11 August in Køge Bay, about 30 miles (50km) south of the Danish capital.

At about 11am, Madsen jumped into the water after the submarine started to sink, telling personnel on the boat that rescued him that there had been a problem with the ballast tank and something had gone wrong when he tried to repair it.

Police refloated the Nautilus and towed it into harbour for investigation, later suggesting that Madsen may have sunk the boat on purpose to hide evidence.

Danish police said the search for Wall’s body, by helicopters, ships and divers during the weekend, would continue on Monday.

The Nautilus was the biggest private submarine ever made when Madsen built it in 2008. Swedish media reported that Wall had planned to sell her article on Madsen’s boat to the US magazine Wired.

Originally from Sweden, Wall held degrees from Columbia University and the London School of Economics, and had written on issues ranging from social justice to foreign policy for publications including the Guardian, the New York Times, Foreign Policy and Time.

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Danish police confirm headless torso is missing journalist Kim Wall | World news

Police in Denmark have identified a headless torso found in the Copenhagen waterside as that of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, who police believe was killed on board a Danish inventor’s homemade submarine.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday morning, Copenhagen police’s vice-president, Jens Møller, said metal weights had been attached to the body to prevent it from floating to the surface.

“The body bears the mark of having, most likely, been inflicted deliberate damage with the purpose of ensuring that gasses can pass out of the body – possibly in an attempt to avoid that a body rises from the seabed,” Møller said.

He also said DNA taken from a hairbrush and toothbrush belonging to 30-year-old Wall had matched that of blood found on the submarine.

Peter Madsen, a Danish inventor about whom Wall is believed to have been writing a feature article, was charged with manslaughter last week. He told a court hearing this week that Wall died in an accident on his vessel and that he “buried” her at sea.

This marked a change from a previous statement in which he claimed to have dropped off Wall alive on the tip of an island off Copenhagen late on 10 August before the vessel sank. Madsen denies manslaughter.

Wall’s mother, Ingrid, posted on Facebook on Wednesday: “We cannot see the end of the disaster yet, and a lot of questions are still to be answered.

“The tragedy has hit not only us and other families, but friends and colleagues all over the world. During the horrendous days since Kim disappeared, we have received countless evidence of how loved and appreciated she has been, as a human and friend as well as a professional journalist. From all corners of the world comes evidence of Kim’s ability to be a person who makes a difference.”

Peter Madsen’s private submarine sits on a pier in Copenhagen harbour

Peter Madsen’s private submarine sits on a pier in Copenhagen harbour. Photograph: Jens Dresling/AP

Originally from Sweden, Wall had degrees from Columbia University and the London School of Economics, and had written for publications including the New York Times, Foreign Policy, Time and the Guardian.

Danish authorities had been searching for the reporter since she failed to return from an interview with Madsen on board the Nautilus. She was last seen on the vessel by several people in waters off Copenhagen on the evening of 10 August. Her boyfriend reported her missing in the early hours the next day.

The submarine was later also reported missing, and rescue crews located it shortly after 10am on 11 August in Køge Bay, south of the Danish capital. At about 11am, Madsen jumped into the water after the submarine started to sink. He told personnel on the boat that rescued him that there had been a problem with the ballast tank and something had gone wrong when he tried to repair it.

Police refloated the Nautilus and towed it into harbour for investigation, later suggesting that Madsen may have sunk the boat on purpose to hide evidence.

Madsen appeared before a judge on 12 August for preliminary questioning. The case is not open to the public to protect further investigations, police said.

Kim Wall timeline
Kim Wall timeline

On Wednesday Madsen’s lawyer said her client still maintains that Wall died accidentally, and that the discovery of the journalist’s torso did not mean he was guilty of killing her.

“It doesn’t change my client’s explanation that an accident happened,” Betina Hald Engmark told Danish tabloid BT. “No matter what, we find it very positive that she has been found now.”

An entrepreneur, artist, submarine builder and aerospace engineer, Madsen, 46, nicknamed Rocket, has enjoyed a cult status in his native Denmark. For years, a team built around him and the aerospace engineer Kristian von Bengtson have worked on designing a rocket-driven spacecraft.

The Nautilus, which was Madsen’s third design for a “midget submarine” vessel and became the largest privately built submarine when it was unveiled in 2008, has been his most spectacular invention to date.

Measuring almost 18 metres and weighing 40 tonnes, it can be operated by one person from its control room. Madsen was known to regularly take fans and submarine enthusiasts on tours through the Øresund strait. Able to submerge in approximately 20 seconds, the boat can carry up to eight people to 100 metres below sea level.

On Tuesday a support group set up in his honour distanced itself from the inventor. “The dream is burst. In view of the latest information released by the Copenhagen police today, there is regrettably no way for us to continue as part of the Raket-Madsen Support Group,” the group’s president announced on its website.

Danish police said that in light of the findings they would look afresh into unsolved cases such as the murder of a Japanese tourist in 1986. Body parts of 22-year-old Kazuko Toyonaga were found in plastic bags at separate locations in the waters outside Copenhagen almost a month after the student disappeared on her travels through Scandinavia.

Jessica Reed, the Guardian’s US features editor, who commissioned Wall to write articles on a range of subjects, including the last freakshow in America, Voudou in Haiti, real-life vampires and an eccentric American couple who had befriended Gaddafi, paid tribute to the reporter.

“It would be sad to let this tragedy define what Kim’s life was,” Reed said. “She should be remembered for her insatiable curiosity, and her drive to find stories which no other journalist had touched before.

“She was deeply interested in the lives of outliers, people who lived their lives in their own terms. Her passion for her subjects was infectious, and as such she was an absolute pleasure to work with. She was a true professional.”

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Danish inventor denies killing journalist Kim Wall and mutilating body | World news

A Danish inventor being held over the death of the Swedish reporter Kim Wall, whose headless torso was found on the Copenhagen waterside, has denied killing her and mutilating her body, police have said.

“The suspect denies murder and desecration of a human body,” Copenhagen police said in a statement on Friday, referring to Peter Madsen.

Madsen, 46, who has been held in formal custody since 12 August on suspicion of “negligent manslaughter”, says Wall died in an accident on board a submarine he had built. He claims he subsequently dumped the 30-year-old’s body in the sea south of Copenhagen.

Peter Madsen pictured in 2008 with the submarine.

Peter Madsen pictured in 2008 with the submarine. Photograph: Hougaard Niels/AP

Investigators say Wall’s body was “deliberately” mutilated and weighed down with a metal object to try to prevent its detection.

Wall was last seen on board Madsen’s 18-metre (60ft) submarine, Nautilus, on 10 August when she went to interview him. Investigators found traces of her blood inside the vessel. Danish prosecutors are seeking to charge Madsen with murder and have until 5 September to request an extension of his custody.

Madsen, who describes himself as an “inventepreneur” on his website, is to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Wall was a freelance journalist who had reported for the New York Times and the Guardian. Her boyfriend reported her missing a day after the interview with Madsen.

That same day, Madsen was rescued from waters between Denmark and Sweden shortly before his submarine sank. Investigators recovered and searched the vessel, which police believe Madsen sank on purpose.

The Nautilus was the biggest private submarine ever made when Madsen and some volunteers built it in 2008. The volunteers were engaged in a dispute over the Nautilus between 2014 and 2015, before members of the board decided to transfer the vessel’s ownership to Madsen, according to the Nautilus website.


In 2015, Madsen had sent a text message to two members of the board saying “there is a curse on Nautilus”.

“That curse is me. There will never be peace on Nautilus as long as I exist,” Madsen wrote, according to a post written by the volunteers in Danish on the website.

Danish police are still searching for the clothes Wall was wearing on the submarine: an orange fleece, a skirt and white sneakers. According to her former classmate and close friend Yan Cong, the sneakers had sentimental value.

“We sent each other photos of us wearing the sneakers during reporting trips from different parts of the world,” Cong said. “I believe she was wearing them when she went missing.”

Wall was a graduate of Columbia University graduate school of journalism in New York. She had planned to move to Beijing to pursue her career, Cong said.

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Reflections on the Barcelona attacks | Letters | World news

We should always remember that the difference between liberal democracies and jihadi terrorists is that we embrace life and freedom, and theirs is a death cult intent on destroying freedom (Fighting terror means protecting freedom, 19 August). In the light of the dreadful attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, there are lessons to be learned from Spanish history. The golden age of Spain from the year 711, under moderate Muslim rulers, heralded an age of relative harmony between the different faiths of the country. Christians and Jews were granted “dhimmi” status, and allowed to practice their religion. By contrast, the radical Islamic Almohades, who assumed control of the country in the 12th century, persecuted other faiths. This pattern was repeated by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, with the Spanish Inquisition of 1478. Societies will only thrive if the ruling faith makes place for people of other faiths, but unfortunately this simple notion is anathema to fundamentalist Islam.
Zaki Cooper
Trustee, Council of Christians and Jews

The psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott emphasised how we divide the world into “me” and “not me” from our earliest moments, whether through smell, age, class, gender, sexuality, religion, or politics. Multiple differences and beliefs jostle side by side in a successful liberal democracy, which reflects on past history. Those “believers” who tortured and killed non-believers in previous centuries are not seen as holy in this century, although as Afua Hirsch points out (Opinion, 22 August) we have not adequately rethought our slave-owning history.

The danger we are now witnessing is the process by which a small group of largely young people in transitional vulnerable periods of life, often refugees or children of refugees, come to feel they are without adequate identity and community. They are dangerously vulnerable to a pressure to fight to the death in order to die in company that they feel recognises them as having a higher purpose.

Thanks to Peter Kosminsky, who has always been willing to face the big issues with intelligence and passion. It is indeed sad that honourable people could be retraumatised by the (albeit censored) sights shown. But full sights of executions and floggings carry on globally out of western sight, though in plain sight online. Having a TV channel providing such intelligent and painful political drama as C4’s The State (Report, 22 August) is a hallmark of a successful democracy. The task of the reflective adult (of whatever belief or race) is to manage the tension between me and not-me.
Dr Valerie Sinason

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Jeremy Clarkson reveals he nearly died from pneumonia in hospital | Media

Jeremy Clarkson has revealed he was told by doctors he could have died after battling pneumonia.

The Grand Tour presenter fell ill earlier this month while on the Spanish island of Mallorca and has written about his time in hospital in his Sunday Times column.

He wrote that he had “three nights spent spasming in my bed” before a doctor sent him for tests at the hospital. He was then told he would have to be admitted for at least a week, which he called impossible. The doctor said: “If you don’t do as I say you will die.”

The TV presenter said: “I’m sure many of you will have found yourself in hospital, not having planned to be there. But for me it was a new experience. And a weird one. Because I was in a room with nothing on the walls except wallpaper, and most of that was coming off.”

Clarkson has now left hospital, but faces two months of recuperation. He said: “This is the problem with hospitals. People who stay in them become institutionalised and incapable of speaking about anything other than what nurse brought what drug at what time. Boredom turns them into bores.

“And when they get out, as I have, and there is nothing to do for two whole months apart from get better, things are even worse, because all I can talk about is my illness.”

Clarkson announced news of his illness last week, posting on Drivetribe that he would be “out of action for quite some time”. “It’s really, really annoying because I’ve never had one day off work since I started in 1978,” he said.

The illness comes two months after his co-host Richard Hammond was airlifted to hospital when his car crashed while filming The Grand Tour.

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Jeremy Clarkson admitted to Mallorca hospital with pneumonia | Media

Jeremy Clarkson is being treated for pneumonia after being admitted to a hospital while on holiday in Mallorca.

The television presenter was admitted on Friday, during a family trip to the Spanish island.

In a tweet, Clarkson, who is 57, told Jemima Goldsmith that he was “in a wheelchair, connected up to tubes, in a hospital”.

The Grand Tour host, who has recently displayed a penchant for wearing bracelets, posted a picture of his arm on Instagram showing hospital identity tags around his wrist, with the caption: “Not the sort of bangles I usually choose on holiday.”

Clarkson was on a break with his family after shooting the Amazon Prime show with co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May when he became ill. The presenter had planned to return to work after his holiday.

A spokesman for the show confirmed Clarkson’s condition and that he was being treated in Spain.

The incident comes two months after Hammond was airlifted to hospital when his car crashed while filming for the show.

The 47 sustained a fractured knee but was said to have been seconds from being incinerated after the £2m electric supercar he was driving in Switzerland plummeted down a hill, flipped over and burst into flames.

Clarkson was dropped from Top Gear in 2015 over what the BBC called an “unprovoked physical attack” on producer Oisin Tymon.

He later said that he had had a cancer scare two days before the assault but later got the all-clear.

Clarkson apologised to Tymon after settling a £100,000 racial discrimination and personal injury claim.

His Top Gear co-presenters Hammond and May quit the BBC after Clarkson’s departure.

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