Catalonia's news program “30 minuts” [ca], which has aired weekly on the region's public television channel TV3 [ca] since 1984, recently broadcast an episode on the question of Catalonia's geopolitical status, called “Independence, step by step.” The episode comes at a complicated time, just a week before campaigning begins for the region's early round of elections (to be held on November 25, 2012), which are largely considered to be a plebiscite on Catalonia's independence from Spain.
The entire episode can be viewed on TV3's website [ca].
Catalonia's unionist opposition parties have seized the moment as an opportunity to criticize the content [ca] of Catalan public television, accusing President Artur Mas of using it to spread separatist propaganda to support his party's (CiU [ca]) chances of retaining parliamentary control.
Nevertheless, “Independence, step by step,” has enjoyed very high ratings as the most-watched episode of the past four seasons. Some 750,000 viewers (22.3% of Catalonia's television audience) watched the episode, according to a survey [ca] by Kantar Media.
The program quickly became a topic of hot online debate, as the hashtag #30minuts [ca] began trending on Twitter during the Sunday broadcast and continued to do so until Monday morning. The wide-ranging reactions to the program seem to match the complexity of the region's politics, reinforcing the analysis that the debate surrounding the question of Catalan nationhood is anything but simple.
Those who praised the episode commented on what they believed to be journalistic integrity, marked by a presentation of diverse and opposing expert opinions on the question of Catalonia's independence from Spain. Miquel Roca [ca], a Catalan nationalist politician and one of the fathers of the Spanish constitution, as well as Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, Spain's minister of justice, were among the program's interviewees.
On the other hand, more skeptical netizens raised concern that while public television networks are busy reporting on the region's surging separatist politics, examples of corruption in Catalan politics — such as the Cafè amb llet [ca] case, in which two journalists were fined 10,000 euro after exposing shady dealings by healthcare moguls — have by-and-large been ignored.
There was also significant negative commentary, criticizing what was supposedly biased and demagogical reporting.
The program was also widely reviewed by bloggers. On Planeta imaginari [ca], the journalist Gemma Busquets, who specializes in television, was ultimately positive about the episode's content.
El títol del reportatge de “30 minuts” era il·lustratiu del que hi trobaríem: “La independència, pas a pas”. Impecable en la confecció, amb entrevistes a experts constitucionalistes i economistes d’aquí i d’allà, declaracions d’arxiu de polítics, el missatge oficial del govern espanyol en la veu del ministre Gallardón, la contextualització internacional amb les situacions que viuen el Quebec, Kosova i Escòcia… Amb arguments i raonaments, el treball periodístic, diguin el que diguin els que estan a les trinxeres, seguia la política del seny que impera en el procés de canvi que viu Catalunya.