Friday, December 11, 2009

Catalan News Blackout on BBC and Western Mail

As one comment on Syniadau'r blog put it, it seems the Catalans will have to start killing people if they want their cause to be covered by the BBC or the 'Welsh' press.

Many of you may know that because the Spanish Constitution (which can't be changed because it was given by God on Mount Sinai) doesn't allow a democratic referendum on independence for Catalonia or the Basque Country. The Catalans have side-stepped the band and are holding a series of referenda on 13 December on the subject in some 150 local councils.

This is big news. But, not big enough for the BBC or the Western Mail. Vaughan Roderick gave is a quick mensh a few weeks ago and there was a piece in Golwg360 as Jill Evans Plaid MEP will be in Catalonia as an observer. Other news which is covered in BBC Europe online include a hunger strike by a Western Saraha dissident (another Spanish colony) and conseiderations by Turkey to ban the pro-Kurdish DTP party . So, the subject of minority righst, or independence movements isn't a problem for the press, it's just that, well, by not killing people or threatening to kill people or not being attacked by tanks or water canons, the Catalan cause isn't deemed newsworthy.

However the big story is that Spain, unlike the UK, which, would in theory at least, allow a referendum on independence for Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales won't allow a similar democratic vote for the constituent nations of their state. The Catalans, like the Basques and Galicians, predate the Spanish state. Catalonia is only a part of Spain because they lost a war of independence in the early 18C - a cause which Westminster supported.

Spain isn't Turkey, but denying a referendum on independence for a European nation within the EU, a nation which has not used violence or intimination is news. Is Spain the kind of EU member state we want to have?