Covid, ousted president, jailed leaders, Messi top topics of worldwide discussion about Catalonia

Diplocat study says most negative mentions are about coronavirus and most positive ones about pro-independence leaders 

Health workers in the coronavirus area of Barcelona's Hospital Clínic (by Francisco Àvia/Hospital Clínic)
Health workers in the coronavirus area of Barcelona's Hospital Clínic (by Francisco Àvia/Hospital Clínic) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

April 9, 2021 11:55 AM

A recent study conducted by Diplocat reveals which aspects of the country are most frequently talked about by the rest of the world.

Through an analysis of online mentions, including data from Twitter, blogs, forums and other digital media, Diplocat has been monitoring who is talking about Catalonia, why, where and how. 

The results from the research conducted by Diplocat have exposed that in 2020 the country appeared in international digital mentions on average 99 times each hour in comments and articles published outside Catalonia and Spain.

Most popular topics

It also highlights the four hot topics to demand the greatest international interest, which were the evolution of Covid-19, the ousted president Quim Torra, the country’s jailed leaders and Lionel Messi potentially leaving Barça. 

Other issues which were also frequently mentioned were the imprisonment of Oriol Junqueras, Julian Assange's relationship with Catalonia, George Orwell's book "Homage to Catalonia", Storm Gloria, events on Catalan National Day and things related to tourism.

According to the data, most digital conversations about Catalonia took place in the United Kingdom (17%), followed by Mexico (13%), the United States (11%), France (11%) and Argentina (9%), Brazil (5%), Italy (4%), Germany (3%) and Belgium (2%).

About the recent study, the secretary general of the organisation, Laura Foraster, said: “This is a really handy tool when it comes to mapping out strategies for international outreach,”. She added: “We combine it with others we have in place such as monitoring the international media and our survey about the international perception of Catalonia.”

The study also analyses the general tone of the recorded digital mentions, whether they were positive, neutral or negative. For 2020, Diplocat has registered the majority as neutral (58%) followed by negative (26%) and positive (16%). Most negative mentions were listed as being about the handling of the pandemic and most positive mentions seemingly provided support for Catalan political issues, particularly those surrounding ousted president Torra and the jailed referendum leaders.    

EU mediation in Catalan conflict 

This is not the first study Diplocat conducts in order to find out the international approach on Catalonia. 

Indeed, in December 2019, the institution carried out a survey with over 2,500 European people, some 42% of whom thought that the EU should mediate in the political conflict between Catalonia and Spain.

The work also showed that 34% of those surveyed say their opinion of Catalonia had improved, while 31% said their opinion of Spain had gone down as a result of the crisis that peaked in 2017.

For 76.6% of the people surveyed, the conflict between Catalonia and Spain had not been resolved, with 8.2% saying it has. Those polled also give the Catalan government a score of 5.2 out of 10 for its handling of the crisis, while the Spanish government gets 4.7.

The study was carried out with people in France, Italy, Germany, the UK, Sweden, Switzerland, Estonia, Latvia, and Slovenia, and according to Diplocat, the sample represents some 72 million people in the EU.