dissabte, 28 de maig de 2011

Read All About It

When Catalan language news media were allowed to reappear in the 'Seventies, having been put on dictatorial hold for 39 years, they were often as dire as the (economic) straits they immediately found themselves in. On Spanish public television, for example, only the most local of news items were allowed to be given in Catalan (Spanish being obligatory for events in the wider world): I recall one newsreader who, after having informed his tiny audience about a spillage of eggs on some Catalan by-road, broke into live giggles. Print media were limited to the new AVUI newspaper, which had more teething troubles than a 1970s Vauxhall, and a plethora of current affairs magazines with a lifespan only slightly longer than a fruit fly's. On the cusp of the Eighties, things changed when TV3 – Catalan public television - came on the scene and into its own, as did a host of canton-based papers, such as El Punt and Regió 7. In 1995, the Catalan language Vilaweb became Spain's first electronic news site. The AVUI improved in fits and starts until it found itself being bought not just for being in Catalan but because it actually contained news (in 1996, it also became the first newspaper in Spain to go online). El Periódico, Catalonia's best-selling paper in Spanish, went bilingual in 1997, as did the popular Lleida newspaper, Segre. A new Catalan paper (Ara) appeared in 2010. TV3's current news bulletins garner larger audiences than those of its Spanish language rivals (as do the news services of the two main Catalan radio stations). More surprising, perhaps, has been the recent launch of a Catalan edition of La Vanguardia, not least because this unashamedly conservative paper earned a footnote in Catalan history when its Francoist editor, Luis Galinsoga, got so riled (in 1959) by what he thought was a Catalan mass in a Barcelona church (it was in Latin: he couldn't tell the difference) that he screamed: 'All Catalans are shite!", which led to a nationwide boycott, called off only when Galinsoga resigned in 1960. Be that as it may and to cut a long story short, the arrival of La Vanguardia in Catalan has added the finishing touch to what must be the most variegated gamut of news media available to Catalan speakers since before the Civil War. No more giggling over spilled eggs, then.

Matthew Tree, Catalonia Today, juny de 2011.

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