Politics 26/05/2022

PSOE breaks with ERC and passes media law with PP's support

ERC and EH Bildu have decided to withdraw their support for the law because the PSOE has not changed the definition of independent producers

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The spokeswoman of the Popular Party in Congress, Cuca Gamarra, during the plenary session on Thursday, May 26.

MadridThe Spanish media law has hung by a thread until the last moment and in the end will be saved by the People's Party (PP), who will abstain, as confirmed by party sources. This will allow the passing of a law that the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and Republican Left of Catalonia had agreed and was, in fact, a bargaining chip for ERC's support for the budget. But the left-wing bloc in Parliament has reconsidered its support for the regulation in the last hours due to the amendment that the Socialists introduced at the last minute: the change made last week by a committee changed the definition of independent producer. In the last few hours, pressure from ERC, EH Bildu and also from Unidas Podemos on PSOE to rectify has been increasing, but they have not withdrawn the amendment. ERC have debated in the last few hours between abstaining and voting against the bill, and have ended up opting for opposing it, as has EH Bildu.

ERC's spokesman in the Spanish parliament, Gabriel Rufián, warned that the situation is "complicated" and that until the "last minute" they would try to change this amendment that was introduced at the last minute. The modification promoted by PSOE means introducing the possibility that part of the subsidies that Europe allocates to independent producers could remain in the hands of large television corporations such as Atresmedia or Mediaset. Independent producers became alert last week when they noticed the PSOE's change was approved with the support of the PP and Ciudadanos.

In order to try to modify the opinion, Unidas Podemos, ERC and EH Bildu had presented an amendment to go back to the original wording: "An independent producer is considered to be an individual or company who is not stably linked by a common business strategy to one or more service providers [...] and in exchange for a retribution places themselves at the disposal of said [which would now revert to "of a"] audiovisual communication service provider". Even Unidas Podemos is considering whether to abstain in the vote if the PSOE does not budge.

ERC endorsed the regulation in the committee despite opposing the independent producers' amendment. That the audiovisual law should incorporate quotas for Catalan, Basque and Galician was one of the issues that the Republicans agreed with the Spanish government in exchange for their support for the State budget. EH Bildu will also vote against the law if the PSOE does not rectify. The party already abstained when voting the final draft of the law in the committee last week. On the other hand, JxCat, PDECat and CUP had already said they would vote against the law. The three parties consider the regulation does not guarantee a sufficient presence of co-official languages (Basque, Catalan and Galician) on digital platforms. Ciudadanos has said it will abstain.

Opposition from Catalan language campaigners

Platforms based in Spain are obliged to dedicate a minimum of 6% of their catalogue to productions in co-official languages. This will not affect corporations such as Netflix or HBO. The quota agreed with ERC does not satisfy language campaigners, which this Thursday concentrated in front of Congress to protest against the regulation. They believe that it does not respect the linguistic diversity of the State. In statements to the media reported by ACN, the secretary of Plataforma per la Llengua, Francesc Marco, denounced that "a historic opportunity has been lost to recognise and strengthen the linguistic and cultural plurality of the State" and warned that they will continue working to reform the law.

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