Misc 21/09/2021

Pressure on the Spanish government to include specific quotas for Catalan in new audiovisual law

The draft of the project does not include the Generalitat's demands, but the Spanish and Catalan governments claim the text is not definitive

2 min
A girl watches a series on Netflix

BarcelonaThe protection and promotion of Catalan, in full regression in terms of speakers according to the latest studies, is one of the pillars of the action of numerous organisations and one of Aragonès's government's goals, as Catalan ministers for the Presidency and Culture, Laura Vilagrà and Natàlia Garriga, stated in an article in ARA at the beginning of September. That is why alarm bells rang this Monday when it has emerged that the text of the new audiovisual communication bill the Spanish government is finalizing does not include the protection of Catalan through quotas on streaming platforms such as Netflix, HBO or Amazon Prime. As published by El Periódico, the draft, which has gone onto a second phase of public hearing, excludes Catalan demands in this regard. The Generalitat had demanded, among other things, that within the percentage reserved for European works (30% of the total, as established by a European directive), there should also be a percentage for the Catalan language of 30%. However, the text that the Spanish government is working on at the moment only talks about reserving half of European productions for "works in the official language of the State or in one of the official languages of the autonomous communities". Central government sources assure that this text is not definitive, as does the Generalitat, but political parties and organisations have redoubled the pressure so that the final project ensures specific quotas for titles in Catalan.

"The draft that the Council of Ministers was working on does not protect the Catalan language and does not foresee any positive action towards minority languages", Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) denounced in a statement, with which it has reiterated its commitment to work to promote a Catalan audiovisual law regardless of what happens in the State. The law was left aside under the previous government and is the solution that its coalition partner, Together for Catalonia (JxCat) has also brought up. They also suggest the Catalan executive pass its own decree: "There are no excuses for the Generalitat not approving a decree law to safeguard the Catalan language in the audiovisual sector," tweeted its secretary general, Jordi Sànchez. And Òmnium, an organisation in defence of Catalan culture and language, described the situation as a "new attack against Catalan" and has announced that it is preparing protest actions.

Meanwhile, the Spanish government has made it clear that the latest version of the bill is not final and that, although it is expected to be approved soon, it will not be quite yet. In the same line, and in spite of complaints by ERC and JxCat, Generalitat sources consulted by ARA claim that "there is no definitive draft" and that they are convinced that their calls for the protection of Catalan will be accepted. There were contacts between governments this weekend and this afternoon, according to the same sources, technical meetings have taken place. In fact, the topic had already been breached in the Bilateral Commission in August. In Twitter thread, the Catalan government's media secretary, Oriol Duran, outlined his aims to introduce changes in the text before it is voted on by the Spanish cabinet, but has also defended correcting it if necessary at a later stage, when the Spanish parliament votes on it.

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