Spain Government and Media Profile

Spain Political Orientation

Spain - Government and Media - Left Bias - Democratic SocialistSpain Government and Media Country Profile


Government Type: Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchy
Head of State: King Felipe VI  (The King is primarily ceremonial.)
Leader: Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez
Political Party: Socialist Workers’ Party (P.S.O.E.)
Political Position: Center-Left Socialist Party

Press Freedom

MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 82.89 – Mostly Free
World Press Freedom Rank:
Spain 36/180

Reporters without Borders warn about the far-right Vox party after it made gains and came third in the country’s 2019 general election, where they state, “VOX has distinguished itself by its crusade against the media.” In addition, Reporters without Borders also says that “journalists have been the targets of physical violence in Catalonia by both the police and independence supporters.”

Media Ownership and Government Analysis

Spain is divided into 17 autonomous communities, and these communities own “autonomous channels.” The governments of the autonomous communities subsidize these channels with their revenues primarily derived through advertising. An important organization for autonomous channels is the Federation of Autonomous Broadcasting Companies, FORTA (the publicly owned commercial TV network, a rival to public broadcaster RTVE. Regarding public media and funding, the Center for Media Data and Society (CMDS) reports, “The government is the largest spender in the media, with over €2bn pumped in media operations annually, including state subsidies given to the national public broadcaster RTVE”. RTVE (The Corporación de Radio y Televisión Española, S.A.) is Spain’s public broadcaster which is funded by the state.

Although it is supposed to maintain non-partisan reporting, according to El Pais, “many of the organization’s own journalists accuse the government of political interference.” There are also regional TV networks such as Movistar+, which Spanish multinational telecommunications company Telefonica owns. 

In Spain, print and broadcast media ownership is dominated by media conglomerates such as Atresmedia, Mediaset, Prisa, and Vocento. (More on Key Players) For more details on Media Conglomarest cross-ownership and percentage of stockholders, please see here. This high level of corporate concentration can lead to corporate bias and censorship. According to Freedom House, “consolidation of private ownership and political interference at public outlets pose threats to media independence.”

In conclusion, the evidence indicates that corporate media providers exert significant influence on print and broadcast media, while the Government indirectly creates pro-government bias.

Country Rating Methodology

Last Updated on May 13, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check

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