ERC, Junts and PSC accelerate a pact to renew the CCMA | Catalonia


Cordiality and even harmony in the first public meeting held by deputies from Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), Junts and the Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya (PSC) to address one of the thorniest issues on the political agenda: the renewal of the Corporation Catalan of Audiovisual Media (CCMA). The CCMA’s governing council has been in office since 2018 – the presidency, held by Núria Llorach, since 2016. The law that regulates the CCMA requires that the seven members of the council be elected by a two-thirds majority of the regional parliament. Any solution passes through an agreement between the PSC, the main opposition force, and the two parties in the Government, ERC and Junts. The three groups have pledged to reach a pact before the end of the year. “The three formations are working in this regard,” said Raquel Sans, ERC deputy, in an interview with three organized last Thursday by EL PAÍS.

“The political context does not make it easy to reach two-thirds majorities, but we do share the main lines,” said Junts deputy Pep Riera. With Riera and Sans the socialist David Pérez participated in the meeting. The three elected, members of the parliamentary commission of the CCMA, see the entente feasible in the coming weeks. The goal that they have set, according to Pérez, is to approve in December a document that will establish the guidelines for updating the operation of the CCMA, which was designed for a television system forty years ago; later they would enter the dance of the names to occupy the positions of government. “We can agree on a document on the model for the future”, summarized the Socialist deputy, “there are nuances, but there are also many coincidences. We are capable of putting a document on the table, and then other forces join in. Later we will talk about the names, because the document would also mark their profiles ”.

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The law specifies that the president of the CCMA and the candidates to occupy the council of government must be so “at the proposal, at least, of three parliamentary groups.” The candidates, before being put to the vote, must receive the approval of the Catalan Audiovisual Council (CAC). The renewal of this body, also in office, is part of the pact that the groups of the Govern and the PSC. Sans, Riera and Pérez agreed that the members of the council will have different and valid profiles to update the public media in the face of the new digital reality and product-on-demand platforms. Riera explained that the long professional career required by the positions does not imply that journalistic experience predominates. The three stated that the governing council should have a person with more experience in economic management, another in content, technology or relations with the audiovisual industry. “The transformation that the CCMA must face is such a beast that it must be a multidisciplinary team. There must be seven complementary profiles, “said Sans.

Image of the three deputies gathered by EL PAÍS.
Image of the three deputies gathered by EL PAÍS.CRISTÓBAL CASTRO

The ERC deputy proposed a reform of the organization chart of the CCMA. This structure has seven directions. TV-3 and Catalunya Ràdio are the only ones that, according to the law, have to be chosen by competition, but formally they are two more addresses that are not ahead of the others —Human Resources, Legal Services, Management and Resources, Marketing and Exploitation and Engineering—. Sans proposed a change so that the addresses of these two media are hierarchically above the other addresses.

Add to CUP and Common

Socialists have a determining influence on the renewal of organs and positions that require qualified majorities. The two partners in the Generalitat, with a tense cohabitation in power, have each established contacts on their own with the party led by former Minister of Health Salvador Illa. Pérez pointed out that the position of his group is to let “first the Govern and after the agreement is presented to the PSC ”. Pérez seconded Riera when he warned that the agreement to update the CCMA will not specify figures, for example on how certain content can be promoted or the digitization of the chain.

Sans set the goal of having 85% of the House support the bill. Between ERC, Junts and PSC there are 98 deputies, 72% of the seats, and to reach this 85% they should have the favorable votes of En Comú Podem and the CUP. Regarding the right-wing opposition parties, the three deputies made no mention of the Popular Party, rejected the extremism of Vox and were especially critical of Ciudadanos. “There is a shared will and an opportunity because the current scenario makes the agreement more possible than in the previous legislature,” said Sans. Riera was more explicit:There was an attempt in the previous legislature, but it was frustrated at the last minute and it was not the fault of any of the three parties that are here. The agreement was signed but Ciudadanos backed down ”. With 36 seats, Ciudadanos was the first group in parliament in the last legislature. In the regional elections of last February, six deputies were sunk.

Both Sans and Riera were conciliatory with Pérez, avoiding the tense rhetoric of the independence strategy of confrontation with the State. Pérez also got around the conflict, although the disagreement was evident when he considered how to address the loss of audience of Catalan public media among non-independence citizens. The blood did not reach the river because the three represent, in Riera’s words, “the consensus of the founding model of TV3, of a national television and radio, of the country.”

Recover plurality

The good words did not hide the different perceptions about the ideology that the CCMA transmits. For Riera, it is inevitable that most of the TV-3 audience is pro-independence because this is also the majority in Catalan society. Pérez replied that before the rise of independence, “half of the parliament was nationalist [catalana] and it was no reason for the other party to stop watching TV-3 ″. “What do we do? Are we leaving aside half of Catalan society? “, Asked the Socialist deputy:” We will have to do something to recover the non-independence viewer. We believe that today public television is not very plural, not very diverse or that it does not promote other views ”. For Sans, TV-3 does not have a plurality problem. The Republican deputy blamed some parties and the media for creating a kind of black legend of the Catalan public media: “If you repeat like a mantra that TV-3 is a beach bar, that TV-3 indoctrinates, from the media and from the parliament, this also influences the audience ”.

Riera conceded that the channel can do more to attract different types of audience, and for this he considers that it is essential to offer programming that brings together audiences of diverse ideology as mythical programs of the past did, and mentions the series as examples Dallas O Angel Houses Show: “You have to find formulas that work the same way.” “The Catalan public media have to aspire to be the media of all Catalans as they were in the eighties,” said Sans, who entered the personal field by remembering his “yaya Consuelo, who came from Extremadura and who only said one word in catalan, apple, but he was a fan of the channel and its soap operas ”.

Adequate budget

For ERC, according to Raquel Sans, the priority in the CCMA should be the youth and children audience “because, as a country, we continue to have shared references.” For Junts an attractive programming is necessary beyond ideologies and for the PSC, that diversity is recovered. All of this, however, requires money. As a representative of the main opposition group, it was relevant for Pérez to ensure that the CCMA’s budget “is adequate.” This game, of 300 million euros, and a staff of about 2,000 people, have been the subject of bitter discussions because from the right they have been considered oversized. Sans considers that this debate is demagogic because “it is not about spending, it is an investment to unite the country and preserve Catalan”. Pérez defended the urgency of approving a new program contract that provides the CCMA with stable financing for the next five years, “so that the Corporation does not have to go every two months to the government to ask for more money because it cannot pay the payroll” . “The CCMA also has to do an exercise in managing resources well,” Pérez warned, “because increasingly, in the situation the country is going through, it will be difficult for us to say that it needs more resources.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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