Spain 3969
Photo by: lunamarina


Basic Data

Official Country Name: Kingdom of Spain
Region (Map name): Europe
Population: 40,037,995
Language(s): Castilian Spanish (official), Catalán, Galician, Basque
Literacy rate: 97.0%
Area: 504,782 sq km
GDP: 558,558 (US$ millions)
Number of Daily Newspapers: 136


Total Circulation: 4,300,000
Circulation per 1,000: 129
Number of Nondaily Newspapers: 10
Total Circulation: 5,827,000
Circulation per 1,000: 175
Newspaper Consumption (minutes per day): 18
Total Newspaper Ad Receipts: 1,692 (Euro millions)
As % of All Ad Expenditures: 30.20
Magazine Consumption (minutes per day): 5
Number of Television Stations: 224
Number of Television Sets: 16,200,000
Television Sets per 1,000: 404.6
Television Consumption (minutes per day): 222
Number of Cable Subscribers: 466,100
Cable Subscribers per 1,000: 11.8
Number of Satellite Subscribers: 1,840,000
Satellite Subscribers per 1,000: 46.0
Number of Radio Stations: 924
Number of Radio Receivers: 13,100,000
Radio Receivers per 1,000: 327.2
Radio Consumption (minutes per day): 95
Number of Individuals with Computers: 5,800,000
Computers per 1,000: 144.9
Number of Individuals with Internet Access: 5,388,000
Internet Access per 1,000: 134.6
Internet Consumption (minutes per day): 6

Background & General Characteristics

As of the early 2000s, the press of Spain, like its contemporary culture and politics, is coming out of a period of transition. Salient characteristics of this press are low circulation and equally low per capita readership, at least in comparison to presses in other modern European countries. During the twentieth century the press became decentralized, and newspapers were established that focus more on the concerns of Spain's regions and autonomous communities often publishing in regional languages such as Catalán, Basque and Galician. In addition, newspapers have evolved from traditional print media to electronic versions published on the Internet. Another significant feature is the fact that most Spaniards rely on television rather than newspapers as their primary source of news. Only since the death of Francisco Franco in 1975 has political and cultural expression been unfettered. And only with the coming of the so-called transition to democracy in the 1980s has there been anything that approaches a critique of the government and prominent Spanish cultural institutions.

Located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, the Kingdom of Spain is made up of 504,782 square kilometers. It borders Portugal to the west and France to the north. It borders the Bay of Biscay and the North Atlantic, the Pyrenees Mountains, the southwest of France, and the Mediterranean Sea. Spain is made up of a high central plateau, which is broken up by many mountains and rivers. In addition to the landmass of the peninsula, Spain also includes the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Minorca, Cabrera, Ibiza, and Fomentra), the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Palma, Gomera, Hierro, Grand Canary, Fuerteventura, and Lanzarote) and five territories of sovereignty on and off the coast of Morocco (Ceuta, Melilla, the Chafarinas Islands, the Peñón of Alhucemas, and the Peñón of Vélez de Gomora.

Transportation improved a great deal in the twentieth century. With public or private transportation methods, travel is available to all parts of Spain. Spain has many harbors and ports along with an extensive train network. Spain has over 100 airports that accommodate both national and international flights. In addition, Spain has many bus companies, which reach all parts of the country. This wide and diverse transportation network is important for the distribution of the press.

Population Distribution

As of the early 2000s, the population of Spain is estimated to be approximately 40 million, with a 0.11 percent population growth. There are three major cities: Madrid (4 million), Barcelona (2 million), and Valencia (754,000). Since the 1980s there has been a rise in immigration to Spain from northern Africa, Asia, and Latin America. During the 1990s, in fact, Spain has become a country of immigration, although the number of legal resident foreigners is still low by comparison to other European countries. Frequently these immigrants are the targets of discrimination. In terms of religion, Spain is known to be 66.7 percent Roman Catholic, 1.2 percent Muslim, 0.8 percent Protestant, and 31.3 percent other.

Language Distribution

There are four recognized languages: Castilian Spanish, the official language, spoken by 74 percent of the population, as well as three regional languages: Catalán, (17 percent), Galician (7 percent) and Basque (2 percent). Spanish ( Castellano, Castilian) is spoken throughout all of Spain and was, during the Franco period, the only Spanish language permitted.

The Spanish population has a literacy rate of 97 percent (approx. 1 percent of men and 2 percent of women are illiterate). As in other European countries, literacy in Spain is high and virtually everyone speaks Spanish. However, since the death of Franco speakers of regional languages, such as Catalán, Basque ( Eusquera or Eus kara ), and Galician ( Gallego , Galego ). The growth of these languages is closely tied to the growth of newspapers published in these languages.

Catalán belongs to the group of western neo-Latin or Romance languages, which are spoken in the East of Spain (Catalonia or Catalunya ), the Baleric Islands, Valencia, the Franja region, and the border area of Murcia and Valencia. The legal framework for the Cataán language in Spain is found in Article 3 of the 1978 Spanish Constitution and in the Statutes of Autonomy of Catalonia, Valencia the Baleric Islands (Mallorca, Minorca and Ibiza) and Aragón. In 1990 the European Parliament recognized the identity, validity and use of the Cataán language in the contexts of European Union affairs. During the first part of the twentieth century Cataán went through a period of growth and importance associated with the political power of the government of Catalonia, especially during the 1930s. This period of importance culminated during the Second Republic when Cataán was restored to its official language status. However, this situation changed dramatically as a consequence of the Civil War when the Franco regime forbade the use of the Cataán language. After the death of Franco and during the period of transition to democracy, the use of Cataán was restored, and it is flourishing in both print and electronic media. The Cataán language is the cultural language of the upscale, highly educated audience of the Barcelona area. Valenciano or Valencian, a linguistic cousin of Cataán, some might say, a "dialect" of Cataán is the "language" of the autonomous community of Valencia. As with Cataán, Valenciano has witnessed a period of growth since the death of Franco that can be seen in the press and especially the broadcast media.

The Basque language, a non-Indo-European language, is spoken at the western side of the Pyrenees and along the Bay of Biscay in Spain and France. The language is spoken in the Spanish provinces of Vizcaya and Guipuzcoa, in northern Navarre, in part of Alava, and in the traditional French provinces of Labourd, Basse-Navarre, and Soule that now form part of the department of Pyrenees-Atlantique. The Basque country, El PaísVasco in Spanish or Euskadi or Euskal Herria in Basque, is populated by a people whose culture and language is not related to any known European language or culture. Basque customs, sports, and cuisine are distinctive and form an important part of the culture.

As of the early 2000s, more than 600,000 people speak the Basque language. While not a written language until the sixteenth century, Basque has a rich oral tradition. For centuries there was no standard orthography, and during the Franco years it could only be studied in a series of underground schools. In 1964 Euskalzaindia (Royal Basque Language Academy) set forth new grammatical standards for the language, thus beginning what would later be the process for the subsequent program of language normalization. Language planners have focused on the media, both print and electronic, in order to increase the knowledge of the Basque language. Television, radio, and the press have been used in order to improve competence in the language. In the Basque Country, given the low levels of literacy and the higher levels of oral use, the press has obviously played a smaller role in this process.

One of the most salient aspects of Basque culture, Basque nationalism, has its roots in the writings and thought of Sabino de Arana y Goiri (1865-1903) who founded the Basque Nationalist Party in 1985. This party focused on the importance and uniqueness of the Basque language and race as unifying principles of Basque culture and politics. In the late 1950s the organization Euskadi ta Askatasuna (The Basque Country and Land, ETA) was founded as a political movement for the independence of the Basque homeland. Some ten years later, this organization began a terrorist campaign to carry out its political objectives. From 1996 to 2002 many terrorist attacks were attributed to ETA. Many journalists, politicians, and tourists died in these attacks. In the early 2000s, a day does not go by that Spanish people are not confronted in one way or another with the problems of Basque separatist terrorism and violence. ETA terrorist threats are frequently published in Basque newspapers such as Gara and Euskaldunom Egunkaria . One of the Basque newspapers closely associated with ETA is the ultranationalist and radical Egin (To Do) which has been called a mouthpiece of the terrorist organization. In the 1980s, Egin came under the control of the Basque coalition Herri Batasuna that was closely tied to ETA. Finally in 1998 the Spanish courts closed the newspaper.

In addition to Basques, Cataáns, and Galicians, another important minority are the Spanish Gypsies who refer to themselves as Rom and to their language as Ro-many . Gypsies in Spain are usually divided into two groups: Gitanos (Gypsies) and Hungaros (Hungarians). Historically, Gitanos live in the Southwest and central regions of Spain. Traditionally, many worked as street vendors and entertainers. Hungaros are Kalderash , poorer and more nomadic.

Historic Trends

While the tradition of the press in Spain truly dates back to the eighteenth century, its roots are to be found in the seventeenth century. The first periodical publications in Spain belong to the so-called gazette tradition. Among these, the first gazettes to circulate in Spain were those from France: La Gazette , Le Journal des Savantes and Le Mercure Galan . The first gazette to be published in Spain the weekly Gaceta Semanal de Barcelona appeared in 1641. The second and more important gazette, the Gaceta de Madrid , known as Gazeta Nueva and Relación , was published in 1661. This political and military news source appeared annually until in 1667 it became a weekly. Later it was published biweekly and in 1808 it became a daily.

The eighteenth-century press was strongly influenced by the periodical press of France. The eighteenth century saw a proliferation of news in Spain. The majority was dedicated to literary content and information dealing with the arts and sciences. This press also contained articles on the improvement of the national economy. One of the earliest Spanish newspapers was the eighteenth-century El Diario de Los Literatos , which was published in 1737 and focused primarily on literary content and survived until 1742. The paper espoused and defended the ideas and philosophy of eighteenth-century Spanish thinkers and writers, such as Feijoo and Luzan. It was one of the first papers to carry the title Diario (daily). However it was not published daily. The first daily was the Diario Noticioso, Curioso, Erudito, Comercial y Politico was published in February of 1758 by Francisco Mariano Nipho (1719-1803), the founder of journalism in Spain. This paper, later called the Diario de Madrid , became the first daily newspaper published in Spain. King Fernando VI granted this paper a special privilege to publish "moral and political discourses," announcements, and literature. A success, it led to the proliferation of other similar newspapers throughout other cities in Spain. However, some thirty years later, the monarchy limited the publication of newspapers. These decrees, especially those by Carlos IV, were short-lived, and in 1792, the press regained the right to appear. Other important newspapers of this period were El Seminario Económico (1765), El Correo de los Ciegos (1786) and El Correo de Madrid (1787).

Newspapers in Spain continued to proliferate in the nineteenth century. Readers were attracted by general and political news as well as by articles by well-known writers such as Mesonero Romanos, Mariano José Lara, and others. A whole literary movement, known as Costumbrismo , based on character sketches and articles on Spanish customs and manners, arose out of the press of Spain during the nineteenth century.

By 1878, there were already some 380 newspapers in Spain. By 1882, this number had grown to 917. In 1920 there were more than two thousand. With respect to dailies, in 1900 there were around 300 papers. However, this number dropped to 290 in 1920. The most important papers of the early nineteenth century were ABC (1861), El Debate de Madrid , La Vanguardia (Barcelona 1881)), Heraldo de Aragón (Zaragoza ), La Gaceta del Norte and Euzkadi , both published in Bilbao and El Mercantil (Valencia). During the early part of the next century, especially around 1913, the most influential papers were La Correspondencia de España , Heraldo de AragónEl Imparcial , (all from Madrid) and La Vanguardia from Barcelona.

In the nineteenth century, Spain's newspapers faced difficulties. Spain's transportation system and railway network were unreliable. Coupled with its rough terrain, the underdeveloped transportation system limited the distribution of the press. Also, the literacy rate was low, about 25 percent of a population of 16 million. Perhaps the most important obstacle was the issue of freedom of the press. In Spain, full freedom of the press was not achieved until the revolution of 1868 and the First Republic (1871). It should be noted that the political developments, which brought about this freedom, were short lived.

Moreover, during the nineteenth century, newspapers became closely affiliated with specific political groups and also linked to particular business interests. This was departure from the earlier part of the century when writers and other intellectuals controlled the press. During the later part of the century, the press became a for-profit enterprise.

Political Effects on the Media

Three important political events helped shape the press of twentieth century Spain: the rise of the Second Republic; the Spanish Civil War and subsequent triumph of General Francisco Franco; and the death of Franco and the transition to democracy. During the forty years of the Franco dictatorship, the government had complete control of all forms of the press and media. Censorship was exercised and dissent was not tolerated. After the death of Franco, the press gained freedom and with it the ability to take on the role of a modern European democracy. In the early 2000s the press and other forms of the media have complete freedom to comment on all political, cultural, and social issues.

During the twentieth century, ABC was one of the most important Spanish newspapers. Founded in 1903 (1905 as a daily) by the Luca de Tena family, it continues to have strong ties to the monarchy and the Catholic Church. It espouses conservative viewpoints and is highly critical of both Cataán and Basque nationalism.

Before and during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), ABC was instrumental in attacking the governments of the Second Republic (1931-1936), specifically with respect to Cataán and Basque nationalism and any political manifestations of labor and radical ideologies, especially socialism. After the war, ABC was closely tied to the Franco government but it always maintained its monarchist stance.

After the Civil War, the state became the principal newspaper publisher in Spain. All papers were subsumed into what was then called Prensa del Movimiento , an organization with close ties to the Spanish Falange. In 1948 there was an official media that controlled all the nation's press. This time it controlled some 38 newspapers (dai-lies) and 8 weeklies, in addition to several important national magazines. Until the late 1960s, the government, subsidized this state-run propaganda tool.

With the victory of Franco and the destruction of the Second Republic at the end of the Civil War in 1939, all newspapers were placed under the control of the government's press agency, the Delegación Nacional de Prensay Propaganda (National Press and Propaganda Agency). This agency controlled 30 morning dailies, six afternoon papers, and five Monday papers as well as weekly and monthly magazines. In 1962, the number of dailies grew to 39. While some privately owned papers did exist, they had to accept directives and administration imposed by the Franco regime.

In the 1970s, the press declined. The only papers during this time to maintain circulation rates of 200,000 were ABC and La Vanguardia . Circulation rates continued to fall well into the late 1970s. However there was a small increase in 1981 and 1982.

Distribution of Readership, Content, and Areas of Income

In 2002 there were 91 newspapers in Spain with a total daily circulation of 4 million. The circulation to population ratio was 103 copies per 1,000 people. The highest of these averages was in the region of Navarre with 175 copies per 1,000,and the lowest was in the region of Castile with an average of 44 copies per 1,000. Regarding subject matter and circulation, there was a circulation

of 3,219,152 copies with general content information: 787,307 copies with sports content and 104,965 copies with financial information content. Newspapers reached 12.6 million readers in 2000. Readership was the highest in the North: Navarre (57 percent) and the Basque Country (56 percent).

Historically, most Spaniards only read one newspaper (57 percent read one title) and newspapers were frequently passed around to more than one reader. Some 29.4 percent of all Spaniards read two papers daily and only 13.1 percent of the population read more than two papers. In terms of gender, 63.3 percent of the readership of newspapers were male and only 36.7 percent were female. The largest segment of the readership was between the ages of 25 and 35, and most belonged to the middle class. In general terms, the reach of newspapers in Spain grew in the 1990s, and the sports press influenced readers, especially middle-aged men. Regarding income areas, the press got 54 percent of its income from advertising, 41 percent from sales, and 5 percent from other factors. Ten advertisers spent 9.19 percent of the total expenditure on advertising in newspapers.

Geographical Distribution and Ownership

The press in Spain is divided into national and regional newspapers. There are three important newspapers: El País , El Mundo and ABC . Most newspapers and a lot of the electronic media are owned by the major media groups: PRISA, Grupo Correo Prensa Española, UNEDISA, and Grupo Godó. Other important media concerns include: the Spanish Statistical Institute (INE), which is publicly owned; The Telecommunications Market (CMT); and private sources such as Telefónica, Retevisión, and SEDISI. Among the most significant agencies which maintain statistical data on the media are the Oficina de Justificacion de la Difusión (Audit Office of the Press, OJD) and the Association of Media Research (ACMC).

Ten Largest Newspapers

With regard to circulation, the top ten newspapers in Spain are: El País (436, 0000); Marca (403,049); ABC (291,950), El Mundo (291,950); La Vanguardia (191,673); El Periódico (184,251); As (158,780); El Correo Español (132,113); La Voz de Galicia (107,850); and Sport (106,504). Three of these papers, El País , ABC and El Mundo , are national newspapers. Four are regional: La Vanguardia , El Periódico ; El Correo Español ; and La Voz de Galicia . Three of these papers are sporting newspapers: Marca , As and Sport .

Without a doubt, El País , published in Madrid, is Spain's leading newspaper. It has set the tone for serious journalism in Spain, and it played a central role in the country's transition to democracy. In the early 1970s, a group of investors and journalists sought to begin a truly liberal independent newspaper in Spain. After the dictator's death in 1975, one of the principal mass communication groups in Spain, PRISA, began the paper. El País: Diario Independiente de la Mańana first appeared on May 4, 1976. Its publication marked a milestone in the history of Spanish journalism and political and cultural history. PRISA also owns the radio network SER and is part owner of the subscription television channel Canal+(Plus).

El País championed liberal democratic views along with pluralist views toward the recently formed autonomous communities. Published in Madrid in a tabloid format of between 80 to 100 pages, it contains many business, educational, travel, and literary supplements. It concentrates on reporting and analysis of all aspects of Spanish life and culture. There is a marked emphasis on international news, indicating the paper's role in European journalism. For its international coverage, it uses both news agency material as well as overseas correspondents. It also has established close relationships with other European newspapers such as the Independent and La Repubblica . Its Op Ed pieces often set the agenda for public debates. The paper also publishes regional editions (Andalucia and Barcelona). In addition, it publishes an international edition and an Internet edition.

El Mundo is one of the major daily newspapers published in Madrid with a national readership. Founded in 1989, its Masthead reads, "El Mundo del Siglo Veintuno" (The World of the Twenty-First Century). In tabloid

format with around 80 pages per copy, it contains both international news and in-depth coverage of national news. In addition, it contains business and sports pages with extensive literary and Sunday magazines and supplements. It is also known for its investigative journalism. During the socialist government of Felipe González, it carried out extensive investigative reporting into corruption of governmental officials.

ABC is one of a very few conservative, older family-owned newspapers. Published by Prensa Española, and owned by the Luca de Tena family, ABC is part of the Catholic and monarchist press to survive Spain's transition to democracy. It is a very successful paper with a national readership. It is, however, not as important as El País or El Mundo .

ABC is published in a small format of around 130 pages, stapled at the spine, and printed on poor quality paper. It contains few photographs. The newspaper's articles are printed in difficult-to-read columns. In terms of format, in comparison to El País and El Mundo , it seems "unmodern." The paper is a constant critic of the socialist PSOE government of Felipe González, and it has been very critical of Cataán and Basque nationalism. Its read-ership appears to be people who are "suspicious of change."

La Vanguardia is one of the oldest and most prestigious daily newspapers published in Catalonia. It was founded in 1881, by the Cataán industrialists Carlos and Bartolomé Godó, and is still owned by the Godó family. While it is one of the major newspapers in Barcelona, it has a significant readership in other parts of Spain.

La Vanguardia is published in a tabloid format of around 100 pages. It is known for its coverage of Cataán as well as Spanish and international news. Its high quality reporting represents the industrial and business sectors of Cataán society. Written in Spanish, the paper contains a great deal of information on Cataán culture and politics. However, it often takes a critical view of Cataán nationalists, especially of the Cataán parliament and the convergence and unity political party. Recently, this paper has received competition from another Barcelona paper, El Periodico.

The sporting press of Spain enjoys a huge popularity. The most important sporting newspapers are Marca , As , Sport , El MundoDeportivo and Super Deporte . Marca is by far, the most successful. It is one of the most important of all Spanish dailies. It was part of the Punto Editorial and was later bought by Recolectos in 1984. It also receives support from the British Pearson Group. While the paper covers all sports, it is most intensely interested in football-soccer.

Financial Newspapers

Newspapers, which concentrate on economic and business content, have had a great success in the 1980s and 1990s. Each of the major newspapers has departments or sections dedicated to economic issues and there are also individual newspapers, which concentrate on this topic. Some of the most important economic papers in Spain are Dinero , Su Dinero ( El Mundo ), Gaceta de los Negocios (which is published in English and French in addition to Spanish), ABC Economia , Cinco DíasExpansiónLa Vanguardia Economia , and Iberbolsa .

Sunday Editions and Supplements

Spanish newspapers register a marked increase in circulation on weekends, especially on Sundays. This increase in readership is due to the great interest in Sunday supplements. Among the largest circulation of Sunday supplements is El País Semanal , which circulates more than one million copies daily. This represents a milestone in the history of the Spanish press. The supplements of other dailies are Blanco y Negro ( ABC ) which circulates some 600,000 copies; La Revista ( El Mundo ) with a circulation of 400,000, and the Sunday supplement of Barcelona's La Vanguardia which circulates some 300,000 copies.

Kiosk Literature

Newspapers as well as other periodical press form part of what has been called "kiosk literature" in Spain. This literature dates back to the nineteenth century and is related to the Spanish tradition of buying, selling, and reading. This type of literature usually refers to both serious and popular literature that is sold in kiosks. It is a literature of mass appeal which includes serious newspapers, sports press, economic, and travel magazines as well as what is referred to in Spain as "prensa del corazón" (press of the heart). This periodical press is primarily a set of magazines containing what might be called "gossip columns". The best example of this press is the popular magazine Holá! , founded by Eduardo Sánchez and Mercedes Junco in 1944. Circulation of the magazine has continued to increase through the years. A print run by is about 800 thousand copies a week. Much of the magazine deals with the Spanish Royal family, European royalty, and international entertainment stars. With respect to format, photographs receive more attention than text, which is minimal for the most part. Holá has been described as escapist, which was fostered by Franco's ideas of culture and the arts. Other publications also considered to be "press of the heart" includes Pronto , Lecturas , SemanasDiez Minutos and Qué me dices .

Regional Press

The Cataán Press and Media The press and other media of Catalonia are divided by language, one in Cataán and the other in Spanish. After a forty year hiatus during the dictatorship, a Cataán language press appeared in 1976. The Cataán paper Avui (Today), published in Barcelona, is the largest Cataán daily paper and also contains a supplement written in Aranés, a local idiom spoken in a sector of the Pyreenes. In general, the late 1970s saw a rise in the number of Cataán papers. In 1978, this press included Regió 7 and Punt Diari in 1979.The latter became El Punt in 1988. The historic Diari de Barcelona (Barcelona Daily) was revived for a short time but is no longer published. While there has been an increase of Cataán press during the later part of the twentieth century, print runs very small.

An interesting case in the press of Catalonia can be seen in the establishment of El Periodico (The Paper), a newspaper published in both Cataán and Spanish editions. Since its establishment in 1997, it has increased its circulation and readership. It is the largest daily paper in Cataán with the greatest readership. Another popular paper, Segre , which is published in two editions (Cataán and Spanish), is distributed in the province of Llerida.

Cataán and Spanish coexist in print and electronic media just as Cataán newspapers exist along side of Spanish language papers. El Periódico (Spanish edition), La Vanguardia and the El País (Barcelona edition) are the most important papers published in Spanish. The Spanish papers have a circulation of a little more than a million, and the Cataán language papers have a circulation of around 250,000.

Press of Galicia Galician, a Romance language closely related to Portuguese, is spoken in North Western Spain, in the autonomous community of Galicia, and in some parts of Asturias, Custillia, and León. Approximately 1.5 million people speak it. Galician has a rich literary tradition, especially during the middle ages and in the nineteenth

century, when a rebirth of this literature was initiated by Rosalía de Castro. While it received official status during the second Republic for a brief time, it was not until the Constitution of 1978 and the Language Law of 1983, that it became one of Spain's official regional languages.

The regional government of Galicia, Xunta de Galicia has worked to institutionalize and promote Galician language and culture. Important among these are efforts to expand the Galician language through radio and television (RTVG: Radio and Television Galego) and the publication of texts and periodicals in the language. Publishing in Galician has increased notably and even Spanish-language newspapers published in Galicia often contain sections in Galician. The O Correo Galego is the only newspaper that is entirely published in Galician. It is published in Santiago de Compostela and has played an important role in the linguistic normalization of the Galician language. Important Spanish-language newspapers published in Galicia include La Voz de Galicia , El Ideal Gallego , El Correo GallegoFaro de Vigo and El Progreso de Lugo .

The Basque Press The most important papers of the Basque press are El Correo , El Diario Vasco Euskaldunom Egunkaria , Gara and Tolosaldean Equnero . Euskaldunom Egunkaria published in Andoin, Gipuzkoa, is the only existing daily newspaper written entirely in the Basque language. Gara is written and published in both Basque and Spanish. This paper published in San Sebastian also has an on-line edition.

Press of the Canary Islands The Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa constitute an autonomous community (since 1979) with an estimated population of over a million. These islands have a distinctive culture, which sets them off from the peninsula. The culture has its roots in the Guauches people of Berber origin. The population also was strongly influenced by the presence of indianos (Spanish immigrants from the Americas). The islands became part of Castile's transatlantic empire. They were the last stop over on the way to the Americas and the first stop on the return from the American colonies. From a political point of view, the islands have made some attempts at self-determination and even independence, especially since the death of Franco. In terms of government, the group of islands are divided into seven island councils, which pursue local island interests. Canarian culture is known for its distinctive literature, music, and cuisine.

The press and other forms of media of the Canary Islands have two principal characteristics. The first is a great interest in international news, especially because of the islands' location. The second is a more "parochial" nature, even more local than is found in Spanish regions. The history of the press of these islands dates back to Correo de Tenerife , which was published between 1808 and 1810.

The period between 1875 and 1925 was important for the growth of the islands' press. The most important papers during this time were: Diario de Las Palmas , a liberal paper, and the Gaceta de Tenerife , which had conservative and Catholic roots. The most popular paper on Tenerife is El Dia , founded in 1910. The 1980s witnessed the publication of one daily on all the islands, Canarias7 .

Economic Framework

During the twentieth century, Spain changed from an agricultural to manufacturing and to a services oriented economy. In 2002, the Spanish economy is based on the services sector, which accounts for 60 percent of the country's wealth. In 1996, the GDP per capita was estimated to be around $13,660. Much of the services sector is related to the importance of tourism, the most important part of the economy. The industrial sector is motor manufacture.

Rapid change and transition have in the twentieth century characterized the modern economy of Spain. During the last years of the Franco government, there was uneven expansion, followed by a period of reform and restructuring. After the 1980s, and well into the 1990s, Spain struggled to modernize its industries. Among the most significant problems are those of energy, inflation, and growing unemployment. Not surprisingly, Spain's international trade experienced important growth after the country joined the European Union (EU) Trade. As of 2002, the EU accounts for around 70 percent of international trade.

Without a doubt, one of Spain's most serious economic problems is chronic unemployment. In 1996, Spain's rate of unemployment was 22 percent, one of the worse in the EU. The number unemployed reached over three million in the 1990s. Nonetheless, a large sector of the Spanish population enjoys a standard of living that is comparable to that of other developed European economies, and in many ways, higher. It is certain that the standard of living for most Spaniards has improved in the past 30 years. Using all traditional measures such as life expectancy, literacy, educational enrollments as well as per capital income, Spain enjoys a relatively high standard of living. Salaries and wages in Spain have improved with the economy. With a GNP per capita of $14,070; thus, Spain occupies the twelfth position in the EU. Geography is also an indicator of income. The wealthiest region per capita GDP is the Balearic Island. Next come the areas of Madrid and Catalonia. The poorest regions are Extremadera and Andalusia. According to Schulte, reporters in Spain earn around $1,000 per month, while salaries for experienced newsmen would range up to $2,000 in cities like Madrid and Barcelona.

Spain's national debt is estimated at around 68 percent of its GDP. Although this is a high rate, the government has been somewhat successful in decreasing this percentage in the past years. Privatization of different companies, which proved to be controversial as reported in the press, was helpful in reducing the debt.

In the late 1970s, a series of serious economic problems affected the press: paper prices, heavy losses in advertising, and circulation revenue. All of the press suffered the consequences of this economic crisis. The only exception was the Francoist El Alcázar , a right-wing paper that circulated primarily among the Spanish armed forces.


Historically, the Spanish government has also controlled the import and distribution of newsprint. Of the more than 200 metric tons consumed, more than half is produced in Spain.

Professional Organizations

Spanish journalists belong to several professional organizations. In order to be a member of a journalist organization, they must be graduates of a recognized school of journalism. Journalists are registered by the government. In addition, there are several journalist unions. Spain's major labor unions, workers' commission, and the general workers' union also have sections for journalists, photographers, and printers. Many individual cities, like Madrid, have their own journalist organization and union. This is also true of particular regions and autonomous communities.

Spanish journalists are organized into a national group of Associations of the Press. There is a National Federation of Associations of the Press, as well as regional and local Associations of the Press. Among the most important city associations are those of Madrid and Barcelona. The principal objectives of these organizations are to protect the rights and interests of all journalists as well as to promote the standards and ethics of the profession. According to Schulte, more than 4,000 journalists belong to more than fifty individual associations of the press. Other significant press organizations include Asociación de la Prensa de Cantabria , Asociación de la Prensa de Madrid , Asociación de la Prensa de Sevilla , Asociación de Periodistas de Información Económica , Asociación de la Prensa Profesional , and Organización de Periodistas en Internet , among many others.

Unlike the United States, most Spanish newspapers are sold over the counter or in kiosks, rather than through subscriptions. This buying practice is part of a Spanish culture of apartment or flat dwelling rather than living in freestanding homes. Most Spanish newspapers sell for around one Euro.

Press Laws

The most important press legislation in Spain in the twentieth century began with the Law of 1938, which Franco decreed during the Spanish Civil War. This law put the press under the direct control of his military forces. The next important piece of press legislation was the 1966 Ley Fraga (Fraga Law) after its principal author, Manuel Fraga Iribarne. This law constituted a form of controlled liberalization with respect to censorship and freedom of the press. While it relaxed some of the repressive aspects of earlier legislation, it still maintained significant aspects of the prior censorship. Because of this law many journalists and some newspapers suffered sanctions, especially fines, suspensions of publications, and closures. Frequently the offending journalists were charged with conspiring against the government and the founding principles of the Franco regime.

However, the most important changes came about through the establishment of the Spanish Constitution of 1978, especially Article 20 which gave citizens the right to express their views openly. This article also protects the right to publish in languages other than Spanish.


Until the death of Franco, censorship was a main feature of all Spanish culture. The government was intolerant of any political or artistic expression that challenged or seemed to insult the Franco government or military forces. During the Franco years, the press, literature, and the cinema were heavily censored. In addition to governmental censorship, there was also censorship organized by Catholic organizations. The Church's role was primarily to censor materials that were deemed to be immoral or of a sexually explicit nature.

Franco's Ministry of Information and Tourism was charged with the censoring process. This process, based on the 1938 press law, gave the government the right to regulate the size and number of periodicals. It also stipulated that the government could elect the administration of all periodicals and press. All newspapers were required to submit their copy to the Ministry before publication. In April 1977, the second article of the 1966 press law was abolished. This article listed particular institutions, in this case the National Movement that could not be criticized by the press. The Constitution of 1978 guaranteed the rights of a free press and outlawed prior censorship.

State-Press Relations

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Spain is a parliamentary monarchy ruled by the chief of state, King Juan Carlos I de Borbón y Borbón, and the head of government, President José María Azar, of the Popular Party (PP). The Spanish legislative system is bicameral and made up of Cortes (General Courts) a type of national assembly, which is made up of a Senate whose members are directly elected by popular vote, and 51 others appointed by the Regional Legislatures and the Congress of Deputies, also elected by popular vote. Spain is divided up into seventeen autonomous communities.

When Franco died in 1975, Juan Carlos, the grandson of Alfonso XII, became king of Spain. With Juan Carlos on the throne, Spain began to make the transition from dictatorship to a modern European democracy. The first election in Spain in contemporary times was held in 1977, and a new constitution, which had many implications for the press, was drafted in 1978. This constitution made fundamental changes to the legal structure of the Franco regime by allowing Spain to develop into a democratic state. These changes were challenged by a failed military coup in 1981.

The most important political pressure groups in Spain include business and land owning interests; the Catholic Church; the Basque group known as Euskal Herrilarok (the people of the Basque Country); free labor unions; the radical independence group known as Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA); the Anti Fascist Resistance Group (GRAPO); the Opus Dei, a conservative Catholic organization; the General Union of Workers (UGT); University Students and the Workers Confederation (CCOO). Among the most important political parties are the Popular Party (PP), the Convergence and Union Party of Cataluña, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), and the Spanish Communist Party (PCE). In 2002, the main political units with national representation are the governing Partido Popular, the Socialist Workers' Party, and the Left United Coalition (IU). Other significant political groupings include parliamentary representations of nationalist parties such as Convergence to Union and the Basque Nationalist Party.

Labor Relations

The most important journalist strike in the twentieth century were those against Medios de Comunicaciones del Estado in 1975; the strike against the Diario de Barcelona in 1977 and the 1980 strike against Madrid's Informaciones . In the late 1990s and early 2000s there were no strikes connected to journalists' issues. However, Spanish journalists frequently get involved around general labor issues affecting workers in Spain.

Journalist labor issues are typically divided into three groups. First, those who side with the government and the Partido Popular (Popular Party, Conservative Party of J. M. Aznar) constitute the middle conservative sector, for example, the newspaper El Mundo , the radio station Onda Cero, and the television channel Antena Tres. Those who side with the most conservative sector tend to be associated with the Basque Country, for example, the newspaper chain Prensa Española, and the newspaper ABC . Last, there is the group that is independent and slightly critical of the government. Included in this group are the PRISA Group (the newspaper El País , the television channel Canal+ (Plus), and the radio station Cadena SER. The remaining group is associated with the state run radio and television, Televisión Española (TVE) and Radio Nacional de España (RNE).

News Agencies

Agencia (EFE) is the oldest and most important of the Spanish media resources. Founded by the Franco government in 1938, it was controlled the flow of news, including news from foreign agencies. After the transition to democracy, this agency remained closely associated with the government. It operates as the official news agency of the state and is one of the largest news agencies in the Spanish-speaking world. In the past the government appointed the administration of the agency. The editorial line of the agency reflects the current government in power.

The agency has 1,145 employees worldwide, and it distributes to more than one thousand locations throughout the world. It staffs offices in 137 cities and in 102 countries. More than 2,000 journalists are affiliated with it. Using satellite transmitters, it sends more than 300 reports daily, and it offers 24-hour service to participating journalists. In addition to EFE, there are other important news agencies in Spain. Among these there are Agencia de Comunicaciones , AvantpressColpisaEuropa Press , Agencia Cataána de Noticias , and Reuters España .

Broadcast Media


Radio has had a profound impact on Spanish media. During and after the Civil War, radio was used primarily as an instrument of government propaganda. After the war, the Franco forces seized republican broadcasting stations. Beginning in 1939, there was prior censorship of all commercial radio broadcasts. During the Franco period, coverage of all news, both national and international was in the hands of an official state network, Radio Nacional de España (RNE). RNE held a monopoly on radio transmission until 1977. Unlike the Spanish print media, radio did not experience a process of liberalization, during which restrictions were eased. In 1997, the number of radios in Spain was 13.1 million. There were 208 AM stations, 715 FM stations, and one short wave station. The RNE ended its monopoly in 1977. Since 1989, the General Bureau regulates radio for Radio Broadcasting and Television.

The most important radio networks in Spain are RNE, Cadena de Ondas Populares (COPE), Sociedad Española de Radio Difusión (SER) and Onda Cero. SER is the most popular of all the radio networks. It commands a high audience (9.6 million) and is known for its music (rock and popular) and its news programs. This network, especially "Hora 25" program, played an important role in Spain's transition to democracy by broadcasting some of the first uncensored news stories. The audience for radio news in Spain is greater than that of print media, but smaller than that of television.

As in the case of print media and television, radio has figured prominently in consolidating culture and identity in Spain's regions and autonomous communities. This is especially true in the Basque country, Galicia and Catalonia. Euskadi Irratia (Basque Radio) broadcasts throughout the Basque region in Basque. Galician Radio, part of RTVG, transmits exclusively in Galician. In Catalonia, Corporació Cataána de Radio Televisio (CCRTV) has contributed to the expansion of Cataán over the airways.


It is estimated that over 90 percent of the population watches television daily. On average Spaniards watch more than three hours of television per day. They watch television at home but also in bars and cafes; they especially love to watch football matches. In terms of audience size, TVE1 and Antena 3 draw the greatest number of viewers.

Like newspapers and radio, television was controlled and censored during the Franco regime. During those years Television de España (TVE), Spain's first station, founded in 1956, held a state monopoly on television broadcasting. A second channel was introduced in 1965. Even after the death of Franco, Spanish television was under the influence of the government. This lasted into the 1980s, when the first regional televisions appeared, particularly Basque television (ETB) and Cataán television. After 1983 regional television stations began to appear throughout Spain, especially Television de Galicia and Canal Sur in Andalucia (1985), Telemadrid (Madrid), and Canal 9 in Valencia. The later was established in 1989 and broadcasts in Valenciano .

The major development in Spanish television after the death of Franco was broadcasting in regional languages and the arrival of commercial national stations. The most important of these was the establishment of Canal+ , which is owned by a French company of the same name and the Spanish media group PRISA. Canal+ is a subscription channel, known particularly for its broadcasting of films and high quality programming. Other important Spanish channels are Antena 3 and Tele5 . Antena 3 offers the Spanish viewing public programming dealing with current events, sports, news, sitcoms, and popular game shows. Tele 5 is owned by an Italian company and by the Spanish Organization for the Blind, ONCE. It is known for its game shows and controversial "reality" programs. Its news programs are not high quality. Spanish television has evolved from a state owned institution, which expressed the views of the government and was heavily censored to one that tends to echo the views of particular regions, a more European perspective, and the demands of the public in general. It must also be noted that the majority of the Spanish public receives their news, be it local, regional, national, or international, from television and not the print media.

Regarding regional television in regional languages, the most significant are Cataán and Basque. There are two major television stations in Catalonia. Both of these stations broadcast in Cataán. The first of these is TV3, which was founded in 1983, and the second is Canal 33, which began regular broadcasting in 1984. Both TV3 and Canal 33 belong to the publicly-owned Corporació Cataána de Radio i Televisió (Cataán Radio and Television Corporation). The programs on these stations focus on specific aspects of Cataán culture and news, as well other national and international news. It should be further noted, however, that Cataáns also watch Spanish-language television such as TVI and Antena 3. But there is no doubt that Cataán television has been an important tool in strengthening Cataán identity and as such has been a key element in the process of language normalization.

As with the Cataáns, there are also two important television stations in the Basque country. They are both under the ownership of Euskal Telebista (Basque Television). The first of these is ET1, which broadcasts exclusively in Basque. It began broadcasting in December 1982 and as such was founded outside the traditional

structures of Spanish national television and without official permission, thus marshalling in a revolution in the history of Spanish television and the history of the electronic media in general. The second station, ET2, was founded in 1986 and broadcasts only in Spanish. Basque TV has not been able to reach the levels of success as other television stations in Spain, which broadcast in regional languages, such as Cataán. This is due in part to the relatively small numbers of Basque speakers and the lesser use of Basque in public administration and education, in comparison that is to Cataán. One area in which Basque television has shown some success is the production of Basque-language soap operas, which have become very popular.

Electronic News Media

Online newspapers in Spain are a recent phenomenon, and they account for 17 percent of the distribution of web traffic. The history of online publications is closely tied to the beginnings of the Internet and computer technology in Spain. This publication history begins with the appearance of the Boletín Oficial del Estrado , a governmental newspaper which was first published on the Internet in 1994. The first general information online newspapers in Spain appeared in 1995. These were the Barcelona papers: El Periódico and La Vanguardia . Later that same year the following papers went online: ABC (Madrid) and El Diario Vasco (San Sebastian). In 1996, two other important papers appeared online: El Mundo (Madrid) and El País (Madrid). From 1997 through 2000, almost all national and regional newspapers went online. In 2002 there are more than 100 editions of printed Spanish newspapers. With the passage of time, Spaniards are reading more and more newspapers online, especially El País , El MundoLa Vanguardia and ABC . Ultima Hora Digital publishes local news from the Balearic Islands on line and is owned by Grupo Serra.

Education & Training

There are many schools of journalism throughout Spain, and media and communications studies are popular. Programs in journalism or related studies are offered at the Universidad Complutenese (Madrid); Universidad de La Laguna (Canary Islands); Univerisdad de Navarra and Universidad de Santiago de Compostela (Galicia); Universidad de Sevilla (Seville); Universidad del País Vasco (Basque Country, Universidad); Pontificia de Salamanca; and the Univerisdad de Barcelona. These journalism schools are organized into university faculties (schools) or departments, and they offer both master's ( Licenciatura ) and doctorate degrees in journalism. However, the most important schools of journalism are those of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Journalism Faculty of the University of Navarre under the control of the Opus Dei. Under the influence of the EU, some Spaniards take part in what has been called "trans-national European journalism education." They are participating in a master's program in European Journalism Studies at various EU universities.


One of the significant trends for the press of Spain is the move toward privatization of the media industry whereby many smaller businesses are put in the hands of larger media conglomerates. Over time, the audiovisual media market has overtaken traditional print media. Pictures and color use are used increasingly in the press.

After the transition to democracy, the press experienced an increase in publications of all types but especially newspapers. In addition to the historic and important newspapers of the past, such as ABC and La Vanguardia ,papers such as El País and El Mundo have come to the forefront and become part of significant media companies. The popularity and growth of this press can be explained in part by articles composed by some of the most prominent writers of the Spanish language, both from Spain and Latin America, such as Jose Camilo Cela, Miguel Delibes, Carlos Fuentes, and Gabriel García Márquez.

Among the major issues which will continue to be reflected in the press of Spain are problems associated with Basque and Cataán nationalism and the structure of the Spanish state; the economic consequences of European integration; the impact of immigration from outside of Europe; and the Spanish government's attempts at immigration reform; the issues associated with guaranteeing of human rights, especially to women, homosexuals and recent immigrants; the continuing impact of scientific and technological developments, especially those associated with information technology; and finally, the ongoing government attempts at university reform and the controversies related to this problem.


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Rafael Chabran

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