181€ million to keep Catalan-language media alive

Front page of La Vanguardia, in Catalan

BARCELONA, Spain -- Americans are used to traveling thousands of miles within their wide open spaces and hearing only English, with variations of accent and expression.

But in France, Germany, Spain, and other parts of Western Europe, there are still regions of distinct languages and dialects preserved by geographic barriers, sedentary culture, and autonomous politics.

So it should not have been a surprise to find that an international media event in Barcelona, to which I was invited to speak, was conducted not in Spanish but in Catalan, that Romance language of northeastern Spain and southern France. Even Spanish presentations were translated simultaneously into Catalan. (Disclosure: The sponsors paid me an honorarium and my travel expenses.)

600 media in Catalan

But it was surprising to learn that there are nearly 600 media outlets in the Catalan language and that the government of the region has spent 181€ million (link in Spanish) since 2008 to prop them up with grants and advertising, according to a lengthy investigation by the daily newspaper El Mundo.
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