The Executive Council has approved this Tuesday the preliminary report of the Draft Bill of Audiovisual Communication Law of Catalonia, which is the first step to update the Law 22/2005, currently in force, and adapt it to the European directives. The reform, explained by the spokesperson of the Government, will allow the creation of a "new Audiovisual Law", as foreseen in the Government Plan approved last week by the Executive. This is the first step to approve and replace "a law that has become obsolete because it is from 2005, 16 years ago that was approved and does not contemplate the existence of digital platforms", said Patricia Plaja.
The new law, which begins its processing with a public consultation process through the “Participa” (Participate) portal to give a voice to the sector and citizens, "cannot be separated from the problem of consumption of audiovisual content in Catalan language".
In this sense, the spokesperson stressed that in Catalonia, as in everything else, the consumption of audiovisual media is moving rapidly from conventional television to the Internet and new on-demand platforms and this new scenario "particularly affects the contents in Catalan language". It should be remembered that according to reports published by the Audiovisual Council of Catalonia, the presence of Catalan on these platforms is almost nil: it ranges only between 0.1% and 1.3% to the catalogs of Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO and Disney +, the video on demand platforms with more consumers in Catalonia according to the latest wave of the EGM (General Media Study).
The global scope of the market in which these platforms move favors the imposition of majority languages, "which requires establishing protective measures to ensure the use of minority languages". In this sense, this new law will protect and strengthen the audiovisual consumption in Catalan and Aranese languages through:
- Establish the minimum percentages of use of the Catalan and Aranese language in the media within the scope of the Government of Catalonia in relation to European works defined in the terms of Directive 1808/2018.
- Provide for measures to promote the use of Catalan or Aranese in the media and social networks.
The change in the legislation also responds to the adaptation to European legislation, specifically to Directive 2010/13, as amended by Directive 2018/1808, which will allow, among others, to increase the transparency of media ownership, strengthen protection against audiovisual content that incites hatred or promotes terrorism, protect minors or guarantee access to the media for people with disabilities.
The new law also aims to increase the legal security of non-profit audiovisual communication services, adapting the regulation to the Spanish State and European regulations, and to reinforce the control, inspection and sanction regime of the audiovisual activity without a license, a function that falls on the Audiovisual Council of Catalonia and the Administration of the Government of Catalonia.
Finally, the spokesperson stressed that the promotion of this draft bill "does not clash, in any case, with the legislative change being carried out by the Spanish State, since, as recognized by the Statute of Autonomy "and confirmed on several occasions by the Constitutional Court, the Government of Catalonia can develop the regulations derived from European standards if they replace the basic rules of the Spanish State.
Next Generation Fund
The Government will reinforce its structure with 125 new positions to manage the Next Generation Funds. Today it has given the green light to two temporary reinforcement programs aimed at "resizing" the technical and human team of the Secretariat of Economic Affairs and European Funds and the General Intervention in its tasks of implementation, supervision and control of the actions and projects that will be deployed in the framework of the Next Generation European funds.
The agreement provides, on the one hand, the incorporation of 65 people to the Directorate General of European Funds, under the Department of Economy and Finance, to manage the 1,023 million euros allocated in Catalonia from the reprogramming of the ERDF (European Development Fund) Operational Program for the period 2014-2020 and included in the new Priority Axis 20. Resources that will be used to promote the repair of the crisis in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and its social consequences, and to prepare a green, digital and resilient recovery of the economy.
On the other hand, the Government has also approved to reinforce the General Intervention of the Government with 60 new positions to carry out the work of control, supervision and accounting of all the actions financed by the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism (MRR). In both cases, the expenses to finance these two programs will be charged to the economic resources coming from the same European funds.
October 1st commemorative act
The Government has also agreed today to hold a commemorative act of October 1st for next Friday. As the spokesperson has advanced, the act will take place at 9 am, at the Industrial School in Barcelona, "in what was the largest polling station in Catalonia during the celebration of the referendum in 2017". The event will be attended by the entire government and an institutional statement is scheduled to be read.