The broadcasters of the CCMA (Catalan Audiovisual Media Corporation), TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio, are not covering today's rally in Brussels live to avoid being sanctioned by the Electoral Commission, sources have told El Nacional.
The decision follows various "warnings" the sources say, in a context of strong pressure on the public media in Catalonia which has grown since the intervention in Catalan autonomy based on article 155 of the Spanish Constitution even though, in theory, the broadcasters are exempt from the effects. It also comes at the start of the campaigns for the 21st December Catalan election.
Within this framework, TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio have limited themselves to short connections with the rally in Brussels, but in no case a full live broadcast, despite the unprecedented nature of the event which, according to Belgian police, has attracted more than 45,000 protesters.
1 minute every half hour
3/24, the Catalan public 24-hour news channel, has only been able to broadcast one minute of reporting on the event in every half hour block. This is in contrast to the live broadcasts Spanish private channels like La Sexta or Cuatro were able to do in complete normality using the signal provided by the organising bodies, ANC (Catalan National Assembly) and Òmnium.
Participating in the demonstration were president Carles Puigdemont and the ministers in exile, all candidates for the 21st December election for either Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia) or ERC (Catalan Republican Left).
Complaints from professionals
Professionals from TV3, like the current head of news, the journalist David Bassa, have expressed their unease with the limited coverage given to the event in Brussels following the pressure.
És periodísticament molt dolorós comprovar com les privades espanyoles poden retransmetre tota la manifestació de Brussel.les, però TV3, fiscalitzada i cosida a recursos que ens demanen "modular el dret a la llibertat d'expressió", no. pic.twitter.com/lIniS1eYeX— david bassa (@david_bassa) 7 de desembre de 2017
Translation: Journalistically it's very painful to see how the private Spanish [channels] can broadcast the whole demonstration from Brussels, but TV3, supervised and tied to appeals which calls us to "modulate the right to freedom of expression", can't.
On 27th November, the Central Electoral Commission partially accepted two appeals from Ciutadans (Citizens) which, first, prohibited Catalan public media from using terms like "government in exile" or "president in exile" or referring to the imprisoned ministers as "political prisoners" and, second, described TV3's coverage of the 11th November demonstration for the freedom of the members of the government in prison or in exile in Belgium as having violated pluralism and journalistic neutrality.
TV3 argued that, just as they had broadcast that demonstration live, they had covered the rally in favour of Spanish unity on 29th October live.
The Electoral Commission's resolution on the coverage of the demonstration for the prisoners orders that "during the rest of the electoral period [the CCMA] should scrupulously comply with the requirements with respect to the principles of political plurality, journalistic neutrality, equality and proportionality guaranteed by article 66" of Spanish election law: