Monday, May 29, 2023
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​"The perverse public media model in Catalonia, the result of pujolismo"

Interview with Javier Barraycoa, PhD in philosophy, sociologist, political scientist and writer, by Carmen P. Flores. 

Javier Barraycoa, Ph.D in Philosophy, sociologist and a political scientist who does hold back when talking and writing about what is behind nationalism and its drivers in Catalonia. He also talks about the role the public media plays in the "story" and their servility in the face of the challenge.

Javier Barraycoa

Mr. Barraycoa, in Catalonia are the public media independent?

Possibly Catalonia is the Regional Government with the least independent means of political power. There are theoretical control mechanisms, but there is total connivance with the dominant ideology. In fact, we could talk about total feedback

Are the public media really public or do they obey the parties that govern them?

In Catalonia, all the parties that have governed since the transition, even in the form of pacts or three-way government splits, have always had a nationalist component. In fact, even in the cases of the PSC (socialist) government, the complex one preceding pujolismo (names after the former President, Jordi Pujol) forced them to adhere to a nationalist discourse, even if its bases did not. I refer to "feedback" in this sense. The appointment of those responsible for the public media is part of a political autocracy, which depends on the ruling parties. However, these in turn acquiesce to the dominant ideology. The media represent itself as those guarantors

Who indoctrinates more politically, the regional or state media?

All indoctrination depends on a "story" to revolve round. The regional "nationalisms" are much more powerful than Spanish nationalism. The indoctrination can be according to Right- or Left-leaning ideology, and also according to identity. Nationalism has constructed an identity story, This is why it can indoctrinate much more intensely. While Right/Left values become increasingly blurred, the need for identity stories is increasingly needed in a postmodern society. This is what nationalism takes advantage of.

Do you think that TV3 and Catalonia Radio have contributed to the escalation of the independence movement?

The independence movement has two major mechanisms of indoctrination and social engineering. On one hand, the education system is in their hands and, on the other, the public media and an immense network of media (particularly digital) is subsidized by the Generalitat. There is an extensive network of almost 600 digital media in Catalonia. All at the service of a dominant ideology.

Do they serve as spokespeople?

They are not mere spokespeople, nor even consolidators of stereotypes. They are much more powerful. They create the necessary mental structures so that the political guidelines of political power can be taken on board as their own and identified with at the deepest level, including feelings. The story is not heard, it is "lived".

Are they plural?

They are monolithic. At the most, the most radical and leftist separatist media, make the most conservative nationalists self-conscious enough to follow their road maps. It is the only diversity that can be detected.

Why do they hire so many external producers?

They are the communication channels between public media and what they call "civil society". They create a confusing system of revolving doors that keep the media depending on companies and companies depending on the media. If there were ever a non-nationalist government in the Generalitat, it would not find any producers nor would its media have the capacity to produce quality programmes. For example, the best TV3 programmes which have the largest audience are outsourced. It is also a form of clientelism. Paying producers implies that all their productions, even those for private sectors, will have a nationalist stamp.

What role are professionals and trade unions playing in these media?

Professionals only speak in private, because they know they have privileged jobs. The trade unions have never made a move on the grounds of defending professional independence or claiming diversity. They have only appeared when the public media have been threatened with economic cuts.

Are political parties doing anything to counteract this?

Political parties are part of the system. If there is not governability of the Generalitat, protests in the Parliament have the same value as a protest Tweet. The public media model in Catalonia is perverse, the fruit of the pujolismo that not only governed the Generalitat, but also has instigated a "system" of social control. The media, and even the political parties are part of that system that everyone plays in. This dynamic can only be ended with an undoctrinated social majority and a spectacular political turnaround.

Is the Consell Audiovisual CAC objective?

The CAC is like the Spanish Senate, an elephant graveyard. It attends to a few matters and prepares its annual report. As the representation in the CAC is proportional to that of the parliamentary groups, then the majority of members of the CAC invariably belong to the ruling party. It is a closed loop and dissidence is prohibited.

What should be done to return to diversity to the public media?

There are models of independence from public media, such as the British BBC. At this time, nationalism would only take heed of -and only partially- to European guidelines that establish a system of independence and diversity. If the Spanish State were to attempt this, it would be seen as inadmissible interference. In the first place, the central government or Europe should establish a per capita spending ratio for public media. This would avoid mammoth structures such as the Catalonian public communication media.



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