Why does Madrid want to control Catalan TV?

Amid the uproar over the Spanish Government’s announcement that it intends to seize control of Catalonia and impose direct rule, one aspect of the effective coup is noticeable through its absence in the media.  I refer of course to the plan to seize control of Catalan broadcaster TV3 and Catalunya Radio.

To understand why Madrid is seeking control of the television and radio stations we need only look at how each are covering the Catalonia crisis.

Catalunya Radio has a list of the top five stories of the week.  The stand-off with Spain makes up four of the five.  The odd one out [News story 4] is apparently related to sex and sport.

TV3 was asked by the Spanish courts to cease its reporting of the situation in the run-up to the disputed Independence Referendum held on October 1st.  The station has since given widespread coverage to the brutality of Spanish State Police and the demonstrations that followed.

TV3 actually appeared in the documentary inspired by my book.  London Calling went to Catalonia to film TV3 presenters Mònica Terribas and Toni Cruanyes.  You can view the segment here.

It’s not difficult to understand why Madrid wants control of both broadcasters.  It wants to neuter them.  Madrid wants TV3 to be the Catalan equivalent of BBC Scotland and Catalunya Radio to be the equivalent of Radio Scotland.  For control of broadcasting is the holy-grail in any information war.  Control the airwaves and you control the populace.

Why do you think the Libyan state broadcaster – Al-Jamahiriya – was one of the first targets for NATO when the West gave support to anti-Gaddafi rebels?  It’s for the same reason that Mariano Rajoy wants to ‘take out’ TV3 and its radio counterpart.  Broadcasting is seen as a weapon by Madrid, and Rajoy wants to wield it.

The attempt to seize control of TV3 and Catalunya Radio is an awkward issue for Scottish Unionists for it draws attention to the situation on their own doorstep.  Scotland has a devolved parliament but, fully twenty years after devolution, broadcasting remains firmly in the grip of London.

The 2015 success of the SNP at Westminster increased pressure on London to cede some control.  Most people believed a Scottish Six was imminent until a lukewarm sop emerged in the form of a new digital channel most will never search out containing a daily nine o’clock news programme.

Madrid will install Spanish versions of Jackie Bird, Glenn Campbell and Douglas Fraser to front TV3.  Catalunya Radio will feature a Spanish equivalent of Gary Robertson, Hayley Millar and Kaye Adams.

Boom .. Boom … “Tonight on Reporting Catalonia … a new study shows Catalan secession would lead to a ten billion Euro black hole …”

Boom … Boom … “Mariano Rajoy to appear on the Great Spanish Bake Off …”

Boom … Boom …”New figures reveal more people trust TV3 than ever before …”

It’s bad enough when your ‘national’ broadcaster has always been controlled from outwith your borders.  The Catalans though have never experienced this kind of corrupt, parochial drivel.  I feel for them.

Oh, the next time a BBC Scotland apologist defends the station and insists its reporters aren’t susceptible to institutional pressure, agendas or political bias then ask them why Madrid wants to control TV3 and Catalunya Radio.  It isn’t to resize the Catalan weather map I can tell you.

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10 thoughts on “Why does Madrid want to control Catalan TV?

  1. LC (lorna campbell)

    Couldn’t agree more, Peter A. Bell. If Holyrood withholds a consent motion for some for the measures that are passing into UK law as the repatriation of powers takes place, it could find itself in the self-same position as the Catalan parliament (albeit via a different route) with the Scottish government/Holyrood suspended and London mandarins and nabobs replacing them. This would mean that the Supreme Court would have to adjudicate on Holyrood’s ‘right’ to withhold its consent (remember, it has already ruled that Holyrood cannot challenge Westminster legally, only politically) and that would end up in Westminster rule being upheld. Would the Scottish media do anything to support the Scottish position? Undoubtedly, a few brave souls would put their heads above the parapet, but the majority would issue craven pieces in support of Westminster, citing the Supreme Court ruling as the basis on which a challenge to Holyrood’s freedom to withhold consent would be laid. The opposition parties and the media would simply froth and fizz and smack their lips at the prospect of Holyrood and the SNP government being brought low, and tell the Scottish parliament that, constitutionally, it is a eunuch, and that the EXERCISE of devolution, if not devolution itself, can be withdrawn in the event of a confrontation.

  2. bringiton

    As fellow political travellers the UK Tories (and that includes those who masquerade as socialists in the Labour party) and Rajoy’s PP have colluded since our independence referendum.
    Rajoy’s cunning plan to hold snap elections in Catalunya chime with recent events in the UK and control of the media is straight out of the Whitehall manual on how to control revolting natives.
    The common thread between the Spanish and UK regimes is their need to maintain centralised control at all costs and in the case of London,to brook no alternative policies to their own.
    Perhaps,also the fact that both rUK and rSpain would be busted flushes without the resources of Caledonia and Catelonia may have something to do with it.
    Democracy it aint.

  3. Clydebuilt

    Why does Spain want to control Catalan TV because they have seen how effective Westminster’s State broadcaster is in Scotland?

  4. Clydebuilt

    Who / What is behind Collabarative Scotland a John Sturrock was interviewed on BBC’s Scottish radio station. Claim they want to facilitate conversations on difficult subjects such as Brexit help to keep young folk in rural locations etc. To facilitate these conversations whilst not guiding them (my words) Aye right! I believe they have a bus set up for this . Starting today in Dornoch, following on to Wick, Thurso round to Ullapool. Independence wasn’t mentioned, Brexit was
    As the BBC were giving this air time, it can’t be pro Independence.

  5. millie

    On the button GAPonsonby.

    John Beattie programme just discussed the Catalan TV broadcasting issue on Radio Scotland, think it was just before or after 1.00pm.

    It was an amusing listen, superficial, ironic – just what you’d expect.

  6. Col

    We really need to be publicly taking the p#ss out of BBC Scotland. I walked past one of their presenters yesterday in Glasgow and laughed in his face. I just said “ha”. That was it. Got a strange look back of course. I live near the BBC in Scotland and would love to get some banners taking the you know what out of them and get some pictures to share far and wide. They really are an embarrassment to themselves and we should never stop reminding them of it.

  7. Simon

    You can to say this and that about Madrid, but ultimetly when you strip it all down and it becomes pixellated, they’re just part of the pyramid of bastards!

  8. Robert Graham

    Well at least the Spanish Fascist Government are doing it openly .
    Our BBC in Scotland are a bit more sleekit , they pretend just as Pravda in the old USSR did .

    We know it ,they know it ,and the know they know we know it , if thats not all Donald Rumsfeld speak .

    The rest of the country are oblivious to what they are up to on a daily basis , and the mission of this BBC is to make sure that situation continues , it suites them just fine . Save The Union .

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