Socialists put TV3 in the spotlight

PSC seeks to negotiate changes in the CCMA with ERC and JxCat

3 min
Image of the Tv3 studios with a pro-democracy banner hung on the façade.

BarcelonaThe renewal of the governing council of the Catalan Broadcasting Corportation (CCMA) is one of the urgent duties of this legislature. Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and Together for Catalonia (JxCat) will have to reach an agreement with the Catalan Socialists (PSC) to tackle this reform, since all the directors' mandates expired years ago. Faced with this scenario, Salvador Illa's reaction has been to raise the tone against the functioning of the Catalan public media and make criticism of TV3, the Catalan public television channel, a party priority.

The socialist leader has disagreed with the management of public television in recent weeks. He has denounced in several interviews what he considers a lack of neutrality, and even asked for the resignation of the director of television, Vicent Sanchis, in The tougher tone was also evident in a press conference of the parliamentary group's spokeswoman, Alícia Romero, who demanded the dismissal of the head of news, David Bassa. PSC sources are unhappy with the "lack of plurality" that, in their view, the channel betrays and criticise the treatment given to their party and, by extension, to unionism in the debate on the Independence bid. "It is not only the space given [to the parties], it is also the treatment of information," parliamentary sources say. "A part of the country has ceased to feel that TV3 is theirs," says another voice in the party.

"What does the Government think of the €440,000 TV3 has spent on the purchase of 8 documentaries from Mediapro on the trial of the Independence bid?", asked MP Beatriz Silva in the last plenary session, in which she asked where the money to pay for them had come rom - the socialists criticise among other things that too much content is outsourced. In her reply, executive spokeswoman Meritxell Budó did not explain. The question was another example of the insistence of the PSC on the subject, coinciding with the launch of the commission on the corporation's control. The socialist MP David Pérez will take over from David Mejía (Ciudadanos) as president of the body. According to party sources, they want to take advantage of the negotiations to renew the governing council of the CCMA to address a review of its operation. The Catalan Broadcasting Council (CAC) also needs to be updated. At the moment, several voices point out that there have been talks with ERC and they hope to reach a pact with both them and JxCat.

In recent weeks, the Socialists have registered even more questions in the legislative chamber on the CCMA and a motion for a resolution to review the style book and reform it, if necessary, to "strengthen the current regulations on impartiality".

In addition, the PSC plans to present a document this week with a proposal for changes to the CCMA, which according to several voices has to be discussed today by the executive. Sources familiar with the text define it as "voluntary" in the sense that they hope it will facilitate dialogue with ERC and JxCat to address several elements, such as a modernisation to better adapt public channels to new technologies and consumer habits. As for the debate on the contents, PSC sources say they want Catalan broadcasting law to be respected, as they consider it is not currently achieving the required standards of diversity and balance between points of view. Although the PSC pressed in 2017 for the State not to intervene in TV3 when it suspended self-rule, throughout the previous legislature the party had already shown some criticism with Catalan public media. Sources in the parliamentary group admit, however, that recently they have sought to make the debate more visible.

Distancing themselves from Vox

Criticism of the CCMA has also been voiced in recent weeks by Vox, which considers the Catalan public media a "mafia network" and on April 13 announced the registration of 193 questions to the Government with the intention of "perpetrating" a relentless offensive. However, several socialist voices distance themselves and insist that their goal is to "improve" the CCMA and not close it, and rule out agreements with the far right on the issue.