European Parliament requires all audiovisual products distributed in Catalonia to be available in Catalan

An amendment introduced by Diana Riba to an important report on the European Audiovisual Media Services Directive calls for all audiovisual products to be available with dubbing, subtitles and audio description in the official languages of each territory.

The European Parliament today approved a report that examines how European Union (EU) member states are implementing the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. The draft, which includes a large number of amendments presented by Esquerra Republicana MEP Diana Riba is a rebuke to the Spanish government’s delay in applying the directive and the lack of inclusion of the co-official languages in the Spanish regulations passed last year.

It is worth remembering that in 2020 the Commission already opened proceedings against the Spanish state for not implementing this Directive back in 2018, and in 2022 the European executive ended up taking the case of Spain’s inaction before the European Court Justice. Only then did PM Pedro Sánchez’s government finally initiate passage of a General Audiovisual Communication Law in the Spanish Congress where it was approved without the support of Esquerra, since according to Ms Riba “it is clearly insufficient and does not comprise the spirit of the European directive, as the report approved today by the European Parliament shows.”

In this regard, the report criticizes the “lack of willingness of certain member states to transpose the Directive promptly,” stating that “the delay in its transposition undermines the effectiveness of the Directive.”

A key amendment for multilingualism in the audiovisual panorama

The report is also particularly clear and concise when it talks about the fact that this directive must play “a key role in the structuring of a European audiovisual ecosystem based on the protection of cultural and linguistic diversity.” Indeed, it is here where Esquerra’s MEP included an amendment in the final text that calls for “accessibility through dubbing, subtitles and audio description, among other systems, in all the languages of the territory where the audiovisual media service is provided”. Ms Riba explains that “this amendment to the report is crucial, as it requires, with the case of Catalonia as an example, that absolutely all audiovisual content must be available in Catalan through different systems of interpretation.”

In fact, another amendment presented by the Esquerra MEP and approved today in the plenary calls for “redoubled efforts to disseminate European works that represent all European linguistic diversity, taking into account both official languages and regional and minority languages.”

Finally, Ms Riba emphasized that the text recalls that “the 30% proportion of European work is a quota that sets a minimum and not a ceiling, as interpreted by the Spanish State.” That is why she believes that “it is important to increase this percentage as France or Lithuania have done, which would also increase the percentage of works produced in Catalan.”

Ms Riba thus calls on the Spanish executive “to read the report carefully and to act accordingly and promptly to implement the European rules in an appropriate manner, especially those regarding plurality and linguistic diversity”.