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.
If you enjoyed reading this article please feel free to make a small donation.