Jordi García-Soler Journalist
The serious health crisis caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic, with its devastating human, economic, and social consequences, has made TV3’s partisan and sectarian exploitation even more evident. This crisis, seen exclusively from TV3, through many of its information and especially through its opinion programs and even entertainment, has been and is still a simple extension of the political propaganda of the Government of the Generalitat, and especially of the still president Quim Torra and of his political formation, JxCat. So much so that ERC, and especially its councilors for Health, Alba Vergés, and Labor, Social Affairs and Family, Chakir el Homrani, have very often been criticized in a news outlet where criticism is only formulated in an exceptional way to the actions of the Government of the Generalitat.
All this raises a pending debate in the political and social life of our country for many, many years now: what is TV3 and what does it have to be? And when I speak of TV3 I am referring to the set of radio and television channels of the Catalan Media Corporation (CCMA), successor to the former Catalan Radio and Television Corporation (CCRTV), of which I was a member of the board of directors from June 1983 to December 1996. Born with an original sin -all its creation project and also all the hiring of the staff that started it was done following the direct orders of the then all-powerful Secretary General of the Presidency of the Generalidad, Lluís Prenafeta-, these media have been the only ‘state structure’ created by successive Catalan governments since the full restoration, in 1980, of democracy and autonomy.
Jordi Pujol was surprised and somewhat perplexed when, after finishing recording one of my ‘Converses’ in Catalunya Ràdio, many years before I was fired, he asked me what, in my opinion, would be his legacy as President of the Generalitat, and I said TV3. “And what else?” he asked me, and I insisted: “TV3. Well! TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio. Everything else, the policy of normalization and language immersion, schools, hospitals, universities, highways and roads, the Mossos d’Esquadra, with more or less intensity, would have been done by any other president of the Generalidad. The conception of TV3 as a national public radio station in Catalonia, no”. We agreed that he would call me to speak longer, but I still await his call.
The conception of TV3 as a true ‘state structure’ is unique not only in the context of the Spanish autonomous television networks. Not even the Basque ETB is like it, among other reasons because one of its television channels broadcasts in Spanish, for obvious sociolinguistic reasons. There is also no similar television station in any federal state or autonomous region, in any country in Europe. Perhaps the only comparable network is Radio Quebec, which is a public radio and television station dependent on the Government of Quebec, although in its case it has direct and powerful competition with Radio Canada, which broadcasts its programming throughout the country in both English and French.
The partisan and sectarian exploitation process of TV3 began already before the start of its broadcasts, with the appointment as director of Alfons Quintà, a typical case of psychopathology – he committed suicide after murdering his partner – whom no one has ever understood why Pujol and Prenafeta commissioned him. From then until now, this process of political exploitation has been a constant. With an indisputable popular success -TV3 has been leading Catalan audiences for years-, with a very loyal, addicted and enthusiastic audience, often consuming only TV3.
Much more party television, or of certain parties, than real public television, TV3 has been and is one of the fundamental elements, undoubtedly the most powerful, in the agitation and propaganda apparatus of independence, a simple transmission belt -and often also of irregular financing- of the secessionist story. I am very afraid that it will continue to be, at least as long as all its control depends exclusively on the parties that make up the Government of the Generalidad, with the exclusion of all the others.