Albert Brancadell – 10 August 2020
Pilar Rahola at FAQS program
Based on data from the Center for Opinion Studies, on August 4 the former regional Minister of Justice of the Generalitat Carles Mundó considered “very evident” in a column in La Vanguardia that the legislature of President Quim Torra, presided over by the gesticulation of a maximalist type (the very last sample is the plenary session of Parliament on the monarchy), “it will not have served to reinforce support for independence.” So an interesting question is what was it for then?
The “Círculo de Economía” is clear about it. In the context of the immediate distribution of European funds from Covid-19 and the necessary economic transformation precipitated by the pandemic, in a note published on July 23 (“A historic objective for Europe, Spain and Catalonia”) the Circle affirmed that in recent years Catalonia has lost time and ambition in the economic sphere, and argued that “Catalonia cannot allow itself to remain captive of a political paralysis that has consequences in multiple dimensions of the country’s life.”
One of the proofs of the prevailing political paralysis is that dozens of public positions that Parliament must mandatorily appoint have not been renewed. The catalog includes a good number of public bodies. Some are better known, such as the Síndic de Greuges (Rafael Ribó’s mandate expired in March 2019 and after three decades in office, the man has not thought of resigning or retiring, although he is already 75 years old) or the Audit Office (popularized by the research on Laura Borràs), and others are more remote, such as the Catalan Social Protection Agency or the Data Protection Advisory Council.
These bodies include those responsible for managing and regulating the public media. All members of the Governing Council of the Catalan Audiovisual Media Corporation (CCMA) have their mandate expired and the open war between JxCat and ERC, which has one of its fronts here, has prevented renewal attempts. The recent attempt by the acting president of the Council, Núria Llorach (JxCat orbit), to oust the director of Catalunya Ràdio and self-confessed candidate to chair the Corpo, Saül Gordillo (ERC orbit), is a sign of the level of pathos at which the clashes between government partners arrive.
A less visible body than the governing council of the CCMA is the Catalan Audiovisual Council (CAC), which is the presumably independent authority for the regulation of audiovisual communication in Catalonia and whose principles of action are the defense of freedom of expression and information, pluralism, and informative neutrality and honesty. All its members, including the president, Roger Loppacher, have expired terms. In this case the great news is that one of its members … resigned of his own free will! This is Salvador Alsius, the only professional journalist of the five members of the CAC, who wielded his 72 years to retire.
That the “independent” regulatory authority is made up of former senior party officials (a former PSC regional minister, a former PP leader, a former director general and a former director and former secretary general of convergent governments) is already curious. But if there was any trace of authenticity in the “independence” of this authority, Salvador Alsius refuted it in the interview he gave to Nación Digital following his resignation. In this interview Alsius considered that “a wall has been erected, which is now insurmountable, in which there is a part of the country that would not even watch Catalan public television TV3 at all”, and gave the example of an Argentine friend, a Citizen voter, that he refused to watch the FAQS program even though Alsius himself was invited.
According to Alsius, “many Catalan public [TV3] programs are biased by the way the talk show hosts conduct the programs, there is evidence”. This is the real drama of TV3.
If so far the CAC found no drawback in what Alsius considered “evidence”, it has only one explanation: that the independent authority is also biased. After Alsius’ resignation, the weekly El Triangle expressed it with an unusual candor: “The pro-independence movement loses weight in the CAC but maintains control of the entity” (thanks to the casting vote of the president).
In summary: if Torra’s legislature will not have served to broaden the pro-independence base, there are reasons to believe that it will not have served to improve the quality of democracy in Catalonia either.