Minority languages media: an economic perspective

Europe and perhaps the majority of countries in the world have a linguistic patrimony to protect, as the Minority Languages European Chart (1992) recognizes. Assuming that importance and the financial crisis situation, worse in Europe than in other parts of the world, the Research Project on Media and Journalism in European Minority Languages, leaded by Iñaki Zabaleta (University of Basque Country), has advanced a research wave on financing of ten European minority communities media.

May 9th-11th, in Istanbul, Turkey, took place the International Conference on Communication, Media, Technology and Design  (ICCMTD), powered by the Eastern Mediterranean University. Carme Ferré, member of the Zabaleta’s group, has presented part of the research results, focused on minority communities in Spanish State, so, Catalan, Basque and Galician media economic volume.

 Altogether, their economic volume is remarkable, assuming that it reaches the one of Spanish Broadcasting Corporation (1,140 million Euros in 2010). Comparing communities, the values can be represented as a ratio scale of 8-1-1 approximately (Catalan-Basque-Galician). Catalan and Basque media systems have practically the same ratio values along economic volume and proportion of journalists on the one hand, and the number of outlets on the other. Meanwhile, Galician system shows imbalance between the economic volume and proportion of journalists on the one hand and less media outlets than expected. It could be said that Catalan and Basque media systems have a more balanced development than the Galician.

A problematic aspect of the media finances is that 72.4% of the incomes comes directly from public funds. That’s a situation that in the current crisis context put the media in serious trouble. According to that research, there is a limited economic muscle of local media despite the fact they are crucial. On the other hand, the investment per speaker is similar to that of Germany and United Kingdom.

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