Spain Media Profile
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Spain Government and Media
Government Type: Constitutional Parliamentary Monarchy
Head of State: King Felipe VI (The King is mostly ceremonial.)
Leader: Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez
Political Party: Socialist Workers’ Party (P.S.O.E.)
Political Position: Center-Left Socialist Party
World Press Freedom Rank: Spain 29/180
Reporters without Borders, warns 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 states that in Catalonia “journalists have been the targets of physical violence by both the police and independence supporters.”
Government Influence on Media: 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 the autonomous channels is the Federation of Autonomous Broadcasting Companies, FORTA (publicly owned commercial TV network) that is 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 is owned by Spanish multinational telecommunications company Telefonica. In Spain, the ownership of print and broadcast media 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, exerts significant influence on print and broadcast media, while the Government indirectly creates pro-government bias.