Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 21.3.18

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

  • It wouldn't be spring without a list from The Local to tell you how to enjoy it.
  • But possibly not, if you suffer from alergic rhinitis . . .
  • Or if you live in Lavapies in Madrid.
  • If you've followed the (as ever) lengthy judicial investigation process into the business doings of the royal son-in-law – plentifully reported in the media – it's hard to believe he'd go in for anything but plea bargaining. To the contrary, Sr Urdangarin is reported to be insisting that he's totally innocent of the several corruption offences he's accused of. Vamos a ver.
Life in Spain
  • Walking through our communal garden yesterday and noting the dog dirt there, I decided to advise the Presidenta of our community that someone was ignoring the rule that dogs aren't allowed in it. And then I realised who the owner was of the dog that had just run past me. It reminded me of a question I first articulated many years ago: What's the point of power if you can't abuse it?
  • At this time of year, the mornings and evenings get lighter and evening activities are accompanied by the sound of distant bass drums. From the folk who are rehearsing for the Holy Week (Semana Santa) processions down in the city. At least a kilometre away from my house.
  • Slaking your thirst in a Spanish airport could soon be cheaper than it is now. But still ridiculously expensive.
  • Even better news. Or at least good news.
  • On the other hand.
  • By the way . . .Is it too much to ask that the police do something serious about the very many cars being driven around Spain without insurance, never mind an annual mechanical check?
The EU, Brexit and Spain
  • The joy and the self-congratulations were perhaps a tad premature. Madrid has been súper consistent and thrown a spanner into the works. Or perhaps a big rock.
  • Some expatriate Brits are not at all happy with this week's 'breakthrough'.
  • El play off. Or, if it's really only Galician, O play off.
Social Media
  • Facebook . . . It couldn't be happening to a nicer company.
  • And here's a good question, which I (piously) endorse.
  • Mexico and Venezuela can be dangerous places to do business. Especially some sorts of business. In the last 15 years, more than 30 Galicians have been murdered there. Many of them from a small, over-wealthy village in the hills between Pontevedra and Ourense which has its own airport and a hundred-year history in the Mexico's prostitution industry. An an annual Mexican fiesta. Not all our crooks are narcotraficantes!
  • Talking of killing . . . Someone has been shooting wild horses up in our hills. Forty in the last ten years, in fact. It takes all sorts.
  • And talking of deaths . . . My daughters' favourite beach.
  • So far this winter, Pontevedra city has had 20 more rainy days than usual. Almost as many as in La Coruña and Santiago de Compostela, in fact. And this is despite the fact October to December was unusually dry. I say 'so far this winter' as if it had some time to go. But it officially ended yesterday, whatever the mercury is saying. This gives the Spanish permission to start wearing springtime clothes. Whatever the mercury is saying . . .
  • The mayor of Ferrol (Franco's birthplace) has been indicted for corruption. He, too, says he's totally innocent and that his conscience is clear(tranquila). Which mental state isn't mutually incompatible with guilt, of course. I guess he's hoping that the judicial investigation and subsequent trial will peter out in a decision that the alleged crimes have been prescribed under the statute of limitations. It does happen here. Quite a lot.
  • Did you notice that yesterday was International Happiness Day? I made a special effort.
Today's Cartoon

Bears repeating . . .

Footnote: Could I just advise readers who arrive via Google + that I will be quitting that site later today. But . . . There's now a option to get posts automatically via your email. See the box on the top right.

Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 21.3.18

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia: 20.3.18

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

  • In the preliminary rounds of the Rugby World Cup, it was down to Spain and Rumania as to which team would have the last automatic place. Spain's final game was against Belgium, for which the referee and the 2 linesmen were . . .  Rumanian. Guess what happened. Click here to find out.
  • Talking of no-shows . . . . Spain, with its concerns re Catalan independence, has always refused to recognise Kosovo. So, Spanish representatives won't attend any summit meeting at which there'll be Kosovans. At least that's consistent. Madrid doesn't care much for self-determination on Gibraltar either. Its solution - Imposition of Spanish sovereignty. Just as in Cataluña, in fact. Though with perhaps more logic in the latter case.
Life in Spain
  • Yesterday, I went for a mid-morning coffee in a place close to a secondary school. As usual at this time, there were maybe 15 teachers there, male and female. And it was bedlam. An hour later, it was like a morgue. And I could finally get hold of the local papers to read.
  • This was just before I got a lawyer friend to sign – for nothing – a document similar to the one which – after 7 fruitless visits to 2 notaries – I finally got signed in Vigo, at a cost of almost €70. Plus the train fares . . .
  • Just as I was last night congratulating myself on completing a 6-point reversal into a tight, diagonal parking space, there was a tap on the passenger window, from a woman indicating I should open it. Her spiel was that she was from Ourense – 110km away – and needed petrol money. At least that's more inventive than any of this month's new crew of panhandlers in Pontevedra. Except perhaps the one with the big plaster of Paris boot and walking stick.
The EU
  • Financial engineering cannot stabilise a financial system that is fundamentally unstable. Click here if you're seriously interested in this issue. Italy and Greece aren't the only countries regretting that they fell for the politically driven madness of the euro.
  • The new coalition government. Another caustic view: Put simply, the agreement is chock-full of the policy waffling that has frustrated Washington and a number of Berlin’s other allies for years. And this is the government driving the EU forward. Though nowhere near as fast as M Macron says he'd like.
The UK and Brexit
  • Click here for Richard North's caustic view of yesterday's stage-managed 'breakthrough'. The sound of cans being kicked down the road. An EU speciality, of course.
Nutters Corner
  • Mike Shoesmith, the executive editor of conservative website PNN News: I believe Stephen Hawking was kept alive by demonic forces. I believe that it was the demonic realm that kept this man alive as a virtual vegetable his entire life just so he could spread this message that there is no God. Evidence? Hawking was born the year Billy Braham began his mission. . . .
  • Another excellent podcast from Adam Gopnik for you, on the Irrationality of Nations. Well, the USA, France and the UK.
Today's Video

Footnote: Could I just advise who arrive via Google + that I plan to quite that site very soon. But . . . There's now a option to get posts automatically via your email. See the box on the top right.

Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 20.3.18

Monday, March 19, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia: 19.3.18

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

  • There were profiles of 12 leading politicians in a newspaper yesterday. One of them (Rajoy) is a notary and 7 of the others are lawyers. So, almost 70% - as pointed out by Dutchman Vincent Werner in his book on Spain's major problems. Much, much higher than in other developed nations.
  • And you thought this sort of thing only happened in Spain . . . In Hong Kong a new law is about to be adopted making it illegal to mock the Chinese national anthem, with a sentence of 3 years in prison for offenders. Spain has fallen behind.
  • Pensioners here might well have done better than those either employed or unemployed in the last 10 years but the system is on very shaky foundations and, as reader María has pointed out, promises of future increases are parsimonious. People are increasingly worried about their old age, as noted here.
Life in Spain
  • Crossing the bridge into town yesterday midday, I was tempted to shout at a chap on a bike: “Amigo! If you're going to allow your kid to weave in and out of people on the pavement, it's bloody pointless to ride alongside him on the road constantly shouting at him to 'Mind the pedestrians'”. And: “Have you not noticed it's Sunday and there's bugger all traffic on the road?”.
  • Click here for the article from which these nice snippets come:-
- Donald Trump swept into the White House on a promise to run the government like a business and stock his administration with titans of industry. The partnership hasn’t worked out.
- Just over a year into Trump’s presidency, those titans are leaving, driven out by a chief executive who doesn’t want to hear no, doesn’t trust anyone but himself and can’t stand to share the spotlight, even with those he once hailed as “the best people” on earth for these jobs.
- Trump’s penchant for publicly and privately torturing powerful leaders in his administration extends to military brass.  But it is Trump’s break with his Masters of the Universe that undercuts most clearly a central premise of his appeal as a candidate: He knew what it took to be successful and he would hire people in his own image. The breakup, say White House officials, outside experts and even the president’s close friends, was inevitable.
- Trump is simply returning to who he’s always been, a one-man reality show who prefers to be surrounded by admirers who will praise and fawn over him and confirm that all his instincts are correct and brilliant and certain to succeed. The wonder is that anyone is surprised. [Is there anyone, as of March 2018] [Or even as of March 2017?]
- Trump’s pledge of running the nation like a business had totally gone off the rails. “No board of directors at any big company would ever permit this type of treatment or this level of chaos”.
For the future . . .
- Trump’s friends and defenders don’t really deny that Fart is moving into a new phase of his presidency where he will naturally be less inclined to rely on executives who have subject-matter expertise. Fart is growing in confidence, these people say, and increasingly believes he is best served following his own instincts rather than relying on the savvy guidance of former top executives.
- The USA. is now at greater risk of trade wars and the possible end of the North American Free Trade agreement, a development most economists believe would be catastrophic.
  • And , answering my question of yesterday about who would willingly work for Fart: I think all of these types of people will be gone soon and all for the exact same reason. Trump has gotten to where he is by basically being who he is and if you are a strong-minded person yourself and believe you have something substantial to contribute, you don’t want to stick around and keep getting run over by the boss.
  • So, is Fart about to go nuclear on Mueller? If so, there's said to be a likelihood that this would set off a firestorm in Washington, likely triggering a severe backlash against the president even among his Republican supporters in Congress. One can but hope.
  • Old Soviet joke: A man walks into a food shop in Moscow, looks around and says “Don’t you have any meat?” The shopkeeper replies: “No, we don’t have any fish. The shop that doesn’t have any meat is across the street.”
The UK
  • Brexit chaos looms, says Richard North here.
  • Meanwhile, this foto of young women in Birmingham yesterday makes me proud to be British:-

The English Language
  • According to the French president: The Anglo-Saxon language wants to consume other languages. M Macron is aiming at to have French take over from it as the number 1 foreign language, in Africa at the very least. Ironically, his novel approach is to use English to promote French, which has angered traditionalists. Especially Canadian French speakers, who've gone so far as to ban the English words and phrases which increasingly litter French in France. And Spanish, of course. El Pack Family, for example. Something from an insurance company, I think.
The Cultural Wars
  • Transgender etiquette has produced a new linguistic complication at leading British universities. Students and academics are being encouraged to sign their emails with their names, titles, telephone numbers and whether they prefer to be known as he or she — or another option.
  • It’s always a pleasure to bring you a new term from the social justice warrior’s cretinaurus. This week’s word is 'cishet'. Cishet means someone who is happy with their birth gender and heterosexual — ie, 98% of the world. And here’s another: 'wypipo'. That’s the new approved term for “white people”. Onwards, ever onwards!
Social Media
  • No one can pretend Facebook is just harmless fun any more. The revelation that Cambridge Analytica exploited the data of 50 million Facebook profiles to target American voters is indeed frightening. But Cambridge Analytica shouldn’t act as a diversion from the real bad guy in this story: Facebook. More here.
  • The relevant UK minister avers that: The 'Wild West' era for technology firms like Facebook and Google is over. Their use of people's data must be properly regulated. And they must accept increasing taxation by national governments. Why is it taking so long?
  • I'm often blessed with beautiful dawns, as I sit reading the papers and then writing my blog. Very occasionally, thanks to a river mist, the view looks rather more Japanese than Spanish. Or that's how it seems to me anyway. Judge for yourself:- 

  • I am a huge fan of writer and podcaster Adam Gopnik. Yesterday, I enjoyed this opening line to one of his offerings: Anyone who tells you their rules for a happy marriage doesn't have one. Just as the people who write about sex are never people you would want to sleep with. 
  • But what I really want to cite is this podcast on the Nazis. I'm a firm believer that everyone should be reminded annually of their appalling atrocities and crimes against humanity. I'm not one of those who believes it could never happen again. And this is as good a memory jogger as you could have. Along with videos of the camps.

Footnote: Could I just advise readers who arrive via Google + that I plan to quit that site soon. But . . . There's now a option to get posts automatically via your email. See the box on the top right.

Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 19.3.18

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia: 18.3.18

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

Life in Spain
  • I was asked this week why I have a dashcam. This is the reason:-

  • I know I keep banging on about the failure of (generally lovely) Spaniards to think about others but I can't resist posting this example:-

The baby thingy is blocking the way between 2 tables. I stepped over it 3 times within 10 minutes. The final time, the mother looked at me but said and did nothing. But I do know, of course, that if I'd smiled and said something – or even scowled and said something – she would have apologised profusely and quickly moved the buggy. But I didn't and she didn't. So . . . Me totally British and her totally Spanish.

The EU
  • Político yesterday: Reality bites Macron-Merkel romance: Gone are the days when the French and German leaders could confidently hope to build a new Europe together. The reality of national interests has not disappeared just because of the goodwill of two well-intentioned leaders. . . . Other countries have sought to remind Paris and Berlin that the eurozone is a game with 19 players. Furthermore, the Italian election earlier this month gave a new reason for concern to all those hoping for quick advances on the way to a closer monetary union.
  • Político today: After a meeting of their finance ministers a few hours earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel repeated almost word for word what they have been saying for the past six months on the need to work together and build a stronger Europe. But they didn’t provide any evidence of progress on the main issues at hand.
  • After reading of the latest example of Fart's managerial style, I have to admit that what I fail to get is how anyone with the experience, intelligence and wisdom to qualify him/her for a senior position under Fart would ever want it.
  • Brennan, who led the CIA under Barack Obama, addressed the president earlier on Saturday, writing: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history." Sums things up nicely. One is forced to conclude, though, that Fart sees himself as supremely competent. A deluded jackass, in other words.
Nutters Corner
  • Pastor Gene Kim of San Jose Bible Baptist Church thinks the earth is hollow and Hell is inside it.  He's posted a video that’s somehow even weirder than that. Short version: The Bible says all dogs go to Heaven but cats are the absolute worst.
  • It's good to see our biggest and most profitable industry taking advantage of the upturn in the economy of our nearby neighbour, Portugal:-
  • I think I've mentioned in the past the beaching of fully-loaded speedboats that are being pursued by the police. Here's one recently abandoned in Aveiro, down along the Portuguese coast:-
  • And here's a super-speedboat ditched on one of our local beaches a few years ago:-

  • Finally on this, here's an indication that some of my fellow-passengers on the ferry to the UK might not be up to any good. No wonder I get stopped regularly, as a single male who looks like a succesful narco:-

Social Media
  • There is a British firm called Retweets Pro that claims to be the 'world’s No. 1 Twitter and Instagram marketing agency'. It offers a service that lets customers pay for any message they want to be tweeted up to 50,000 times — with no questions asked. You might imagine this could be abused – e g by a malevolent stalker – and, of course, it is. What a world.
  • I know this will come as a shock to readers living here in Galicia . . . The relevant ministry is hinting that problems with completing difficult sections of the track might just mean we won't be getting the AVE high-speed train to Madrid by 'the end of 2019'. Or even during 2020. I seem to recall having forecast 2030. But now I'm beginning to doubt that. [Reminder: When I came here in 2000, the date was 2005/6. One of Spain's moveable feasts, then.]

Colin Davies: Pontevedra, 18.3.18

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia: 17.3.18

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

  • Good news for pensioners, who've been demonstrating a lot recently.
  • Go to this page from The Local for some amusing – if very patronising - British Pathe News items on 1960s Spain. To be fair, Spain was officially part of the Developing World back then. Before the economy was finally opened up and tourism took off
Life in Spain
  • It's a commonplace comment – at least on this blog – that, however wonderful it is in other ways, Spain is a 'low ethics' society. This is never more obvious than when there's an horrendous crime or accident and an accused is fingered. The article below addresses this, pointing out that Spain is the only European country without a media regulatory body. Possibly because of the usual links between the government of the day and big business. All very unimpressive. And at times sickening. It's hard sometimes to believe that fair trials can take place here. It's one of the ways in which the Franco years have left Spain many years behind other European societies. Something, as they say, should be done. But it won't happen under this PP administration, I fear.
  • Talking of ethics in general and the 'bait and switch' deception in particular . . . A major electricity company has been fined for deliberately tricking customers into a new – ultimately more expensive – deal. Various consumer watchdogs have said they're less than surprised as they regularly get complaints from householders who've been approached by salespersons on the doorstep or by phone. Spain is not unique with this, of course. It's a question of degree. But it is a reflection of weak consumer protection.
  • Ahead of a minor operation, my insurance company asked for more information from the surgeon. I took a letter to his clinic and requested a response by email. Last night I got a call saying I had to go and collect his letter, as data protection laws meant they could neither email nor mail it to me. Is this another example of Spanish providers demanding/expecting their customers to waste their time, or is it true? A quick search suggests UK practitioners and hospitals are instructed to encrypt their emails if data is sensitive. So, they clearly can use email. Anyone know?
  • By the way . . . . The insurance company declined to deal with my request for authorisation of the May op until early April. Apparently, their computer won't respond until then. So, Computer says No, again. More time wasted.
  • Rhetorically . . . Why don't even educated spaniards use punctuation in their emails? It doesn't help with understanding a foreign language, especially one in which word order can be very different from your own.
  • Any excuse for a holiday1: Talking with my insurance company about repairs to my car I was told nothing could be done next Monday as it was a holiday – Fathers'/St Joseph's Day. This turns out to be true of only certain parts of Spain. I think because every region has discretion over a few days additional to the hundreds shared nationally.
  • Any excuse for a holiday 2: It's St Patrick's Day around now. He never had anything to do with Spain but this is irrelevant. A fiesta has to take place in his honour. In Plaza de España in Pontevedra's case:-

The EU
  • I bet no one can name the last 2 Secretary Generals of the Commission. Catharine Day and Alexander Italianer. But many folk will surely know who the recently appointed one is - Martin Selmayer. Who might yet become even more famous/notorious.
  • On this . . . German conservatives now control all the top posts in the EU civil service. Does anyone really expect this will be tolerated for ever, no matter how un-authoritarian they try to be? Of course, that adjective doesn't apply to Selmayer. He apparently makes not the slightest attempt at this. It will end in tears.
  • Last night saw the first programme in a BBC series on the Camino, involving 6 or 7 'celebrities' who'll be doing the French Way from the Spanish border. As they'll take only 2 weeks, not all of this will be done on foot. I was astonished at how unprepared for the challenge they were, perhaps deliberately uninformed by the programme makers. About, for example, the absolute need for walking poles, and how to use them to great effect. And about the need for prior training with a heavy rucksack before setting out. They walked only 7km(4.4 miles) on Day 1, albeit almost all uphill, and were clearly exhausted by the end of less than 2 hours' walking. Meaning a lot of moaning and whingeing. But at least they'll be doing what I've never been prepared to do and sleep in the dormitories of pilgrim hostels. I feel rather sorry for them.

Since Sunday, when Gabriel Cruz's body was found, news reports and current affairs programmes have become almost monographic, with different treatments that have sometimes led to complaints. 

We discuss with experts from different fields this media attention, and which institutions should ensure that the rights of victims and their families are respected. The murder of Gabriel, like previous media cases of disappearances or deaths, is generating controversial media treatment that moves along the fine line between news and entertainment.

The general interest is undeniable, and it translates into million-dollar, record-breaking audiences for the programs that address the event. But it's not the 'what' that's being criticized, it's the 'how'. The way in which some programmes are delivered on certain channels is again being questioned, and FAPE has intervened via a communication calling for respect and ethics in news coverage.

After the revolution in audiences that took place on the same Sunday, when it became known that the body of the little one had appeared, on Monday channels, news and current affairs programmes turned up for the event. "It's too tempting for television," says Guillermo López, a professor of journalism at the University of Valencia.

On Tuesday morning, TVE, Antena 3 and Telecinco broadcast live the funeral of the 8 year old boy from the Cathedral of Almeria. The image from the church, around which giant screens had been installed, alternated with the latest information about the event, during almost the entire program, and for the third consecutive day on the networks.

The"disproportionality" of the information loops:

The deployment involves many hours of grilling, but the problem arises when you analyse whether there is really so much content. Mariola Cubells, a specialist journalist and television critic for Cadena SER, is clear:"We don't do a one-and-a-half hour program because we have a lot of information to communicate. No, we do it by repeating the same thing over and over again. It's excessive," she told VERTELE.

Ferrán Monegal, a journalist and TV specialist who collaborates with 'La Sexta Noche' and writes in El Periódico agrees: 'The networks' directors demand that they keep the subject on screen for hours on end. This is when prudence takes second place, and we have to enter speculative terrain, repeating images and information on a loop.

According to the President of the Audiovisual Council of Andalusia, Emelina Fernández,"They shouldn't be able to fill 4 hours of television time by broadcasting hoaxes, making parallel judgments, and violating the rights of both the family and the victim".

"Immediacy doesn't allow for calm":

What is being debated, in short, is more a question of ethics. "There are a series of principles and rights that must prevail over the spectacle", summarizes the President of the Audiovisual Council of Andalusia, a public audiovisual authority so concerned about this media treatment that it has even published a Guide of good practices for the news treatment of disappearances, and another Guide for the treatment of judicial processes.

Their concern is shared by the experts. Monegal places the focus of criticism at"confusing speculations, the digging, with the strict information of the event", for example when the cameras 'joyfully' portray moments of popular feeling such as the banners against the detainee or a crowd in front of the police station: "Popular feelings are one thing, but the problem is when the television encourages this type of popular reaction".

For Professor Guillermo López, the criteria used by the programmes to manage the news means that "television is set up as judge and jury", and as in cases that everyone agrees are "paradigmatic", such as those of Diana Quer and Dolores Vázquez, the accused becomes guilty or parallel trials are encouraged: "Immediacy doesn't allow for the calm that is necessary to check and be able to say: Look, we don't have any more data; we don't know any more", Cubells reasons.

"From the morning programmes, a shocking frivolity"

Referring to concrete examples, both Monegal and Cubells allude to the special programme that 'Expediente Marlasca' put out on the Sunday. For the journalist, "They did an exposition work from a purely informative point of view, without entering into morbidity or speculation". For the journalist, it was the"most restrained and sensible" programme, although she makes it clear that "nothing new was said" about the rest either, but adds that "Marlasca provided the information. It was the only one I heard say, 'We don't know that.'”.

Monegal:"The ladies of the morning":

For this television expert, everything would be easier if the programmes were to follow a maxim:"Once you have reported exactly what has happened, there is really nothing more to say". From his point of view, when television treatment seeks to "fill to the brim", what is achieved is "confusion giving rise to speculation".

Monegal doesn't hesitate to put the spotlight on the morning magazine programmes. Both at the individual level, recognising that "I was surprised to hear journalists already refer to the arrested woman as 'the murderer', when there was still no verdict", and at the format level, directly criticising that "In this type of case, the most terrifying programmes are the morning magazines on television. The ladies of the mornings."

This expert introduces a clear differentiation between event specialists, who for him "usually work much more impeccably", and the morning programmes: "The problem is when this comes within the dynamics of a magazine presenter". Emelina Fernandez is much tougher: "The morning magazines touch on these themes from a frivolous and frightening point of view. They don't have the slightest degree of journalistic ethics. You can't call that journalism.

The tertullias and combing the streets

The situation is aggravated by what Mariola Cubells calls "the fashion for tertullias” [a sort of chat show in which a group of 'celebrities' all talk at once and say whatever TF they like]. For her, they are "experts in everything" who, along with disproportionate content and repetition, cause "people to say things they shouldn't say". In the same vein, Monegal defends the difference between a journalist and a communicator: "The word journalism stays away from some areas, because journalism has codes. It has ethics".

The collaborator of 'La Sexta Noche' also points out another practice as common as for him as it is unwise: "The horrifying system of going with a microphone asking neighbours and the public for their impressions."A way of acting that, like others, responds to the need to "fill TV hours".

Different treatment on public and private TV:

Despite the fact that at times the treatment of news on all the channels seems very similar, Emelina Fernández clarifies that "the cases we have analysed from a qualitative point of view have an absolutely clear and abysmal difference between private and public television". Although she acknowledges that public broadcasters sometimes and by mimicry engage in practices that are not very good, she explains that the data show that it is "nothing like what some private broadcasters do, and especially some private station programmes".

Guillermo López also believes that "the public continues to maintain more powerful ethical criteria", and explains the lack of the same level of it in the private channels because "they do not have much incentive to respect ethical limits instead of being carried away by morbidity, because morbidity gets you big audiences".

The demand the need for regulation and control:

Both the President of the Audiovisual Council of Andalusia and the professor agree that in these cases more regulation is needed, although from different points. Emelina Fernández begins by saying that "CNMC should act. Just because a television station is private, it cannot be allowed to engage in certain pseudo-journalistic practices.”

Although she clarifies that "we promote media self-regulation in such media cases", she believes that there should be rules of conduct, so she requests that CNMC should analyse the content of these programmes to see if they are "violating fundamental rights", sanctioning if necessary in accordance with the law.

This type of criticism could be solved by the creation of a State Audiovisual Council, an already unanimous request from all parties and one of the points approved by the state pact against gender violence in Congress. Emelina Fernández points out that both the European Council and the European Commission have urged Spain to create such a body, because it continues to be "an absolute exception" throughout Europe and even in countries such as Mauritania, which already has it. "It's bankruptcy of the democratic system", the President of the CAA said.

"It's bankruptcy of the democratic system."

Professor Guillermo López includes another factor in the equation. Recalling that 'private television stations are also a public service who are allocated an administrative concession by the state', he makes it clear that 'the concession can be taken away from them'. At the same time, he acknowledges this is a very remote possibility: "Private TV stations are very powerful, the government doesn't dare to get involved. Let's see who is the brave one who reverses a concession.”

López agrees that "self-regulation is clearly not enough", and he denounces "a certain degree of government passivity when it comes to legislating". That is why, although he himself knows that it is a very unpopular opinion, he reasons that "a little interventionism would not be at all bad, to legislate the treatment given by the media".

Colin Davies, Pontevedra: 17.3.18

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