PERE RÍOS Barcelona – 10 MAY 2020 – 21:13 CEST
The state of alarm has sharpened public Catalan TV3’s political bias, especially in the news media, amid criticism from the network’s professional committee and the Catalan Journalists Union for substance and forms. The pro-independence message and the continuous criticism of the central government for how it has managed the crisis have been accentuated in these two months, without any political control: the parliamentary commission that is in charge has not met since March 6 and the governing body of the public media has expired since 2018.
“The crisis of the Covid from the place of origin”. That was the label that appeared for more than 14 minutes on April 29 on news channel 3/24, while a journalist explained from Madrid the effects of the coronavirus in a city that had nothing to do with Wuhan. An official television spokesperson justifies the label and says the long display time was a “technical error.” “Errors always occur in the sense of correct house thinking,” union sources reply.
It is the most graphic example of news programs that from the first day assumed the Government’s positions without criticism.
The professional council of TV3 broke out on April 19 and denounced the “colonization” of the chain by “the institutional activity” of the Generalitat. “Our information must include the assessments that each government makes of the actions of the other, without forgetting to stick to the fact that the last word in any action is that of the Spanish government,” the council defended.
From the first day of pandemia the TV3 news broadcasts the plans of the Generalitat, although later they will be wet paper, because they need the authorization of the Ministry of Health. That precision is stated at the end of the information and in some cases it has been ignored.
“In the face of the institutional conflict and the differences of opinion between Catalan and Spanish governments in relation to the crisis, we must be especially scrupulous when it comes to getting information to the citizens, who hope to make vital movements based on administrative resolutions “Also said the statement of the professional council of TV3.
In the construction of the Government’s political message, the epidemiologist Oriol Mitjà has played a determining role, turned into the benchmark of Quim Torra for his continuous disqualifications to the ministry, even asking for resignations, and to whom the Generalitat has entrusted the plan of lack of control.
TV3 has promoted these messages two months to the end in the programs of maximum audience. One is “Ask Freqüents”, which is broadcast on Saturday nights during prime time, and who has interviewed him on several occasions. The last one, on May 2. On day 5, Mitjà reappeared on screen in the afternoon program “Tot es mou”, this time to promote the hour-long “Sense Ficció” program, which was to be broadcast that night dedicated to spreading Mitjà’s research in search of a coronavirus vaccine.
The presence of President Torra in programming and especially in the news is continuous, and appears simultaneously on publics TV3 and channel 3/24, almost always at 3:00 pm by imposition of the Palau de la Generalitat, union sources explain. The Journalists Union does not censor these appearances, but rather that they are forced to coincide with the news reports and that there is a counterprogramming.
Thus, on April 9, channel 3/24 interrupted Pedro Sánchez’s intervention to broadcast the Govern’s press conference on both channels. On May 2, the appearance of Torra and Vice President Pere Aragonès lasted 53 minutes. In the evening Torra appeared again 38 minutes in the “Ask Frequents”. The official spokesperson for regional television justifies it “attending to the public service function” that they are entrusted with. On March 20, Torra was interviewed by boys and girls on the children’s channel Super3.
The PSC deputy in the Parliament Beatriz Silva has presented several questions about what happened these months. “Instead of fulfilling its public service work, TV3 has chosen to repeat over and over again information that reinforces the idea that everything the Spanish government does is wrong and thought to harm Catalonia,” she says.
Some presenters or collaborators have poured very hard comments on Twitter these days. “He is about to become the leader with the most deaths on the back in the history of Spain. And it was not easy ”, wrote to refer to Pedro Sánchez, on March 26, Jair Domínguez, presenter of “Està passant” that is broadcast daily in the afternoon. “Go to hell!” wrote the commenter Pilar Rahola the same day, also addressing Sánchez.
The chain, according to its spokesperson, “is not responsible” for what workers and collaborators say in their personal profiles on the networks.
The Catalan public media style book, however, urges them to avoid those comments.