TV3 Catalonia to be Taken Over by Madrid?

I take the liberty to copy-paste an article from the Website of Audiovisual in the Mediterranean, which is powered by CMCA. The article, based on several sources, is from today: Having activated Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution on Saturday October 21st, suspending Catalonia’s autonomy, Madrid now wants to place the Catalan public broadcasters under state supervision, including the television channel TV3.

This measure would allow the Madrid government to put new leaders in place at TV3 and dismiss those currently in office. In a 20-page press release published Saturday, prime minister Mariano Rajoy sets out the terms of this takeover and makes it clear there will be sanctions if anyone disobeys the channel’s new bosses.

TV3 employees have in return announced their intention “not to recognize Madrid’s authority” over Catalan public media. They signed a manifesto published on the evening of Monday, October 23rd reaffirming their rejection of Article 155, and denouncing “the will of the Spanish Government to control the Government of Catalonia […], threatening the citizen’s right to information by forcefully intervening in Catalan public media.”

The editorial staff of RTVE (Spanish public television) and several journalists’ associations have shown their solidarity with their TV3 colleagues by also publishing a press release in which they ask the Madrid Government for “coherence”, underlining “the paradox of wanting to control TV3 to ensure truthful, objective and impartial broadcasting of information, respectful of political pluralism, while at the same time not respecting this requirement at RTVE.”

Since the intensification of the crisis between Madrid and Catalonia, the central government has accused the Catalan public broadcasters of spreading pro-independence propaganda. Mariano Rajoy criticized TV3 for partisan coverage of the October 1st referendum on Catalan independence.

TV3 currently employs 2,000 staff with an annual budget of €300 million and is the most watched channel in Catalonia, with an average audience share of 11% (25% for news programmes).

As well as TV3, the Madrid Government wants to put the other media controlled by the Generalitat de Catalunya under its supervision, namely 4 themed television channels, 4 radio channels including Catalunya Radio, and the ACN news agency. The Senate, where Mariano Rajoy’s party has a majority, validated the takeover on Friday, October 27th.

Sources: El Confidencial, Ara Info, Arrêt sur images, France Inter, RTBF, Le Monde

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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