PP leader and Catalan public broadcaster workers clash over lack of diversity allegations
Xavier García Albiol calls programming on Catalan TV is "unacceptable" and “should be changed from top to bottom”
In an interview on the Catalan public broadcaster, the president of the Catalan PP, Xavier García Albiol, proposed completely changing the Catalan public media and accused them of not being impartial. In his first interview since openly criticizing TV3, the Catalan PP leader had to explain his statement in which he proposed “shutting down” the Catalan public broadcaster (TV3) to “reopen it after hiring normal and diverse people.”
The leader and candidate of the Catalan People’s Party (PP), Xavier García Albiol, has said that the PP will propose “shutting down” the Catalan public broadcaster (TV3) to “reopen it after hiring normal and diverse people.” In comments made at a campaign dinner, the PP candidate called the programming on Catalan TV "unacceptable", especially as it is paid for with "public money". "It should be changed from top to bottom," he said.
The Catalan PP leader later stated that his words had been “misunderstood”, but the TV3 work council has already denounced what García Albiol said as potential incitement to hatred. On Twitter, the Catalan PP candidate said that the word “normal” has no “personal connotation”.
Yet, García Albiol also called the Catalan public broadcaster “a tool” of the pro-independence movement and that it is “in favor of an ideology that aims to agitate the population.” According to the PP leader, TV3 should “respect all Catalans” and “stop being a party television channel.”
TV3 journalists against "hate campaign"
Accusations of a lack of neutrality and diversity at TV3 are far from new and journalists at the channel are now looking into the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the Catalan PP leader for an alleged crime of "incitement to hatred". "We say no to this hate campaign," said the TV3 workers’ committee in a tweet.
Meanwhile, the professional council of the Catalan public broadcaster also denounced García Albiol’s statements and warned that his words could amount to a crime of “inciting hatred by fostering hostility against a group of people, which he indirectly qualifies as non-normal.”
In view of this, the Council has called for "the Catalan public media to defend themselves and defend their workers." The agency pointed out that it does not normally respond to this type of observation, but considering that "the attack seemingly aims to put down a whole group of workers forces us to make an exception."
"We say no to this hate campaign"
TV3 workers’ committee
A “disproportionate” cost
García Albiol's proposal was backed by fellow Catalan People's Party member Alejandro Fernández, who said that the 320 million euros a year that TV3 costs was "disproportionate" and "exaggerated". "I am worried that in Catalonia there are certain issues that cannot be talked about,” he said.
Fernández also noted that "the balance between the population and the cost" of Catalan public television "is not normal" and he pointed out that the Castile and Leon region has 2.6 million inhabitants, one third of Catalonia’s population, and yet its public broadcaster costs 10 times less than TV3.
When the Spanish government decided to enforce Article 155 of the Spanish constitution and suspend Catalonia’s self-government, the initial plan included a takeover of all public media, including TV3, in order to ensure “neutrality”.
The Spanish government’s decision caused outrage in the sector and finally the authorities in Madrid gave up on the plans. Nevertheless, the PP has regularly challenged the neutrality of the channel, which is the most watched in Catalonia and has the most popular news programs.