Catalan Language News 16 - March 2007

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Apr 4 13:17:59 UTC 2007

Catalan Language News 16 - March 2007

The Catalan Language Observatory was set up in 2004 by cultural organisations from
all the Catalan-speaking lands, with the purpose of monitoring the Catalan language
rigorously and objectively.

The following organisations are members of the Observatory:
· Acció Cultural del País Valencià
· Associació de Juristes per la llengua
· Casal Jaume I de Fraga
· Casal Jaume I de Perpinyà
· Centre Internacional Escarré per a les Minories Ètniques i les Nacions (CIEMEN)
· Centre Unesco de Catalunya
· Comitè de Seguiment de la Declaració Universal de Drets Lingüístics
· Consell de Col·legis d'Advocats de Catalunya
· Culturalnord
· Fundació Congrés de Cultura Catalana
· Institut Linguapax
· Obra Cultural Balear
· Observatori de la Universitat d'Alacant
· Omnium Cultural
· Omnium Cultural de l'Alguer
· Organització pel Multilingüisme
· Plataforma per la llengua

With the support of:
· Institute of Catalan Studies
· Television of Catalonia
· IJLV - the Joan Lluís Vives Institute -, whose members are the following
- Abat Oliba CEU University
- Autonomous University of Barcelona
- International University of Catalonia
- Jaume I University
- Miguel Hernández University (Elx)
- Open University of Catalonia
- Pompeu Fabra University
- Ramon Llull University
- Rovira i Virgili University
- Technical University of Catalonia
- Technical University of Valencia
- University of Alacant
- University of Andorra
- University of the Balearic Islands
- University of Barcelona
- University of Girona
- University of Lleida
- University of Perpinyà
- University of Valencia
- University of Vic

With the support of:


Generalitat de Catalunya Government of Catalonia
Govern de les Illes Balears Government of the Balearic Islands
Generalitat Valenciana Government of the Valencian Community
Parlament de Catalunya Parliament of Catalonia
IEC Institute of Catalan Studies
institut Ramon Llull


The government of the Generalitat of Valencia has ordered the end of the broadcasts
of TV3 and had three other channels of the Radio and Television Corporation of
Catalonia (CCRTV) in the Community of Valencia in a decision which it plans to
execute as soon as possible.

This action by Valencia's Partit Popular (PP) government, if it goes ahead, will
mean the end of 21 years of broadcasting by TV3 in the Community; broadcasts which
were brought about thanks to the efforts of Cultural Action in the Community of
Valencia, and financial support by many citizens, bodies and associations, which
financed the repeater stations.

The Valencian government has undertaken this action availing itself of powers, such
as those of inspection and sanctions in the areas of telecommunications which are,
in fact, the exclusive responsibility of central government. There are also plans
to impose fines between 60.000 and one million euros on the Cultural Action in the
Community of Valencia organisation as owners of the repeater stations.

In the present day of a globalised world, where citizens have free access through
the Internet to whatever type of information they seek and are able to watch
television from all over the world, it is incomprehensible, unless for electoral
reasons, and that an administrative decision, taken using antidemocratic methods
can prohibit the people of Valencia from choosing any source of information and
leisure in their own language, and at the same time to destroy a powerful tool for
the spread and growth of the language.

By its action, the Valencian government has violated the specific terms of
aggreement accepted by the Spanish government as a signatory of the European
Charter of Regional and Minority Languages, which when ratified in 2001 came to
form part of Spanish law. Article 11.2 specifically states: "The Parties undertake
to guarantee freedom of direct reception of radio and television broadcasts from
neighbouring countries in a language used in identical or similar form to a
regional or minority language, and not to oppose the retransmission of radio and
television broadcasts from neighbouring countries in such a language. They further
undertake to ensure that no restrictions will be placed on the freedom of
expression and free circulation of information in the written press in a language
used in identical or similar form to a regional or minority language."

For these reasons, the Observatory of the Catalan Language which has within it
principal objectives " to evaluate the situation and evolution of the normal use of
the Catalan language in all spheres", " to act as watchdog in the application of
the European Charter of Regional and Minority Languages", and to " oversee the
process of any action or law suit, or the presentation of reports, complaints or
proposals before the relevant authorities", considers:

1.- The closure of retransmissions of TV3 and other channels belonging to the CCRTV
in the Community of Valencia is in serious contravention of the freedom of
expression, the freedom of choice of citizens to receive information and leisure in
the language which the citizen may decide and of the existing laws of the land,
given that this decision contravenes an international agreement which has been
ratified by the Spanish government and as such is a regulation which binds all
public bodies.

2.- For this reason, the Observatory demands that the competent public authorities
withdraw the sanctions and forego the closure of the retransmissions of these
television channels within the Community of Valencia and put into place those
legal, administrative and technical procedures necessary so that all citizens in
Catalan-speaking territories may have access to the public television channels
which are broadcast in the Catalan language.

3.- Finally, the Observatory demands that the Generalitat of Valencia makes good on
its compromise with the language of that Community and of Valencian citizens and
respects those objectives as laid down in the law of the creation of RTVV,
establishing the Catalan language as that of the everyday programming of Channel 9.


In terms of television, Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands all receive
television broadcast at state-wide level, both public and private, which is in its
entirety in Castilian, allowing for some small exceptions in the case of Spanish
state-owned television channels. In order to correct this anomalous situation, one
of the first objectives of the first democratic governments in Catalonia, was the
creation of a local television which broadcast in Catalan. Television Catalonia
began transmissions in 1983, initially with one channel, TV3, and has since then
moved on to create Channel-33, 3/24 (a 24-hour news channel) and TVC International.
In total, transmissions in Catalan represent approximately 25% of the screen share
in Catalonia.

In 1988 the Administrative Council of the Radio and Television Corporation of
Valencia was established and charged with directing the new television channel in
Valencia, Channel 9, which has since been joined by a second channel Punt2. Screen
share time in Catalan in Valencia has not yet reached 15%. It wasn´t until the year
2004 that the local television channel IB3, which also broadcasts part of a
programming in Castilian, was set up in the Balearic Islands.

Faced with the situation and taking advantage of the lack of any specific
regulation in the area, in 1986 a body known as Cultural Action in the
Community of Valencia, with the support of many individuals and other
groups throughout the Community, created a network of repeater stations
throughout the Community in order to retransmit broadcasts from TV3. This
was followed by similar action by the Voltor Association in the Balearic
Islands. As such, TV3 became the television network which brought most
broadcasts in Catalan throughout these areas, as well as to Northern
Catalonia, in France.

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